Audiobooks discussion

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message 1: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments In the "Let's Help Otis" threads I mentioned that the format options (Audiobook, Audio CD, Audio cassette, MP3 CD) both overlap and are incomplete.

I wanted to suggest changes in the GR Feedback group (the place to formally make requests for changes). But first, I wanted to open up the conversation again, so that we all agree on what makes the most sense to us. (And maybe have a conversation about it in the Librarians group, too).

I'd like three, possibly four options: CD, cassette, digital (MP3, MP4, AA, etc.), and on the remote chance that they're out there, vinyl/record/LP. Librivox and The New Yorker: Fiction come out via podcast, however, I believe that that podcasts are essentially digital magazines and thus "Not a Book".

Keeping in mind that the distinctions for paper books are essentially different bindings (paperback, hardcover, mass market paper, library binding, board book, etc.), how is it best to make distinctions among audiobook formats?

Remove:
Audiobook
Audio CD
Audio Cassette
MP3 CD

Replace with:
1. Cassette
2. CD
3. Digital (includes all digital download formats such as MP3, MP4, AA, etc.)

And define CD-ROM as non-audio for print-style, visually readable materials.

What do you think?


message 2: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool Sounds like an improvement to me!


message 3: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 1102 comments I like the simplicity of your suggestion. It is easy to understand, even for people who know little on the subject. Like me. People will not make mistakes.


message 4: by D.G. (new)

D.G. I like your suggestions too but:

1. I wouldn't go with 'Digital' but 'Digital Audiobook'. If you go with Digital, I wouldn't be surprised if people would put ebooks in there.
2. There are books that have materials on CD that are not audiobooks so to avoid confusion, I think we should stick to Audio CD.


message 5: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments D.G. ~Shameless Hussy~ wrote: "I like your suggestions too but:

1. I wouldn't go with 'Digital' but 'Digital Audiobook'. If you go with Digital, I wouldn't be surprised if people would put ebooks in there.
2. There are books t..."


Great points.

Now that I think about it, there are things in GR that aren't books, because they come packaged with books, are sold by the publishers, etc. GR librarians are constantly trying to pull these things and classify them as "Not a Book." "Audio CD" could include things that aren't books, like music. Not sure if there should be a non-book CD, cassette or digital categories.

How about:
1. Cassette Audiobook
2. CD Audiobook
3. Digital Audiobook


message 6: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1541 comments would you leave DAP's as they are - those are the self-contained audiobooks you can get from libraries - in a little pod type thing


message 7: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments Dee wrote: "would you leave DAP's as they are - those are the self-contained audiobooks you can get from libraries - in a little pod type thing"

How are they classified now? Is this another digital format? Or something separate like "Library Binding"?

(I want to emphasize that I don't have any expertise in this. It's just that what we have now makes me crazy and I want to fix it with something that makes usable sense.)


message 8: by Dee (last edited Jun 10, 2012 02:34PM) (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1541 comments i think they are classed separately as Digital Audio Players or Playaway Devices which is the company that does them

they aren't cd's, nor cassettes or downloads - http://www.playaway.com/


message 9: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments Dee wrote: "i think they are classed separately as Digital Audio Players..."

Classed by who?

Should we include them with the other digital formats and re-work our definition, or is this a sufficiently different format that it should be separate?


message 10: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1541 comments that's why I was asking...they don't fall into any of the formats that you defined above, so **I** think that they should be a separate format


message 11: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments Okay, so you mean that it's not that there's a library or GR or some other classification that identifies them as something other than digital, but you see them that way because above I say "digital download" and they aren't downloads?


Here's some background:
At present we have this weird category called "MP3 CD". I said in the other thread that this didn't make any sense -- something was either an MP3 or a CD. But I was corrected. Apparently there's an audiobook publisher that labels some of their CDs as "MP3 CDs" because the files they put on the CDs are MP3s rather than M4a or M4b or one of the other many formats that files can be stored on a CD.

When I said "digital download" I was merely trying to make a distinction between a physical CD which might contain the MP3 files and MP3 files not on CD which most often come to us via download.

So given the other types of format focus mainly on the binding or type container and less on the method within the container/binding (ie, no one really cares what font they use in the printing), if we focus on containers for audiobooks we have:

1. Cassette Audiobook
2. CD Audiobook
3. Digital Audiobook
4. Pre-recorded Player Audiobook


(According to Wikipedia, digital audio players are devices like iPods, so I avoided that specific term. Playaway is one specific company, and although it may be the only one right now, I think it would be best to avoid using a name like that).


message 12: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool "Digital" is such a funny one. CDs are digital, right? Perhaps category 3 does need to specify "downloaded", as that's the group we are trying to capture (be it Overdrive, Audible, or whatever)


message 13: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments Darkpool wrote: ""Digital" is such a funny one. CDs are digital, right? Perhaps category 3 does need to specify "downloaded", as that's the group we are trying to capture (be it Overdrive, Audible, or whatever)"

Yes, I think that's why I said download to start with then the pre-recorded player came up.

Are there other ways one could acquire this format other than by "download"? Don't think so, but want to make sure the bases are covered.


message 14: by aprilla (last edited Sep 28, 2012 07:07AM) (new)

aprilla | 247 comments I think I would get a bit techy here :( based on the 'weird category called "MP3 CD"' comment LOL

Apart from Cassettes/LPs?? all audiobook files are digital so I would prefer to see the digital format as the GR format - but as I'm happy to just say 'audiobook' this is a conversational thread...

I use a digital device to listen, most of us do, it's not an iPod which requires (I think) the m4a/b format to get the bookmarking feature but will play other formats.... anyway....

I use mp3 exclusively, regardless if it's downloaded or supplied on USB pen or CD/DVD. That's my personal preference. So do I select choice 2 or 3?

Various players prefer different formats or will accept a selection.... mp3, m4a/m4b, cda, wma, etc. etc. Computers will mostly play any of these but your software or device might prefer a specific format.

Subscription accounts and libraries also tend to determine what a person would use.

My selection
1. Subscription Audiobook (library, audible etc)
2. Cassette Audiobook (analog)
3. Digital Audiobook (includes all digital formats such as MP3, MP4, AA, etc.)

1 and 3 are still overlapping choices, but in a clearer way maybe. Difficult to suit everyone with this topic :)


message 15: by Kim (last edited Sep 29, 2012 07:48PM) (new)

Kim (crossreactivity) I'm wondering if there needs to be so much detail within the audiobook category. Print book categories are typically related to the different editions - hardcovers, paperbacks, specific translations, reissues, etc.

What distinguishes audiobooks are the narrators/performers and whether they're abridged/unabridged/dramatized, not the way they're supplied (cassette, CD, digital download).

Might it be simpler just to have the category "audiobook" to distinguish from the other book formats - print versions, e-book, kindle?


message 16: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3642 comments Works for me, Kim.


message 17: by Tomerobber (new)

Tomerobber | 193 comments I agree with Kim . .


message 18: by Alice (new)

Alice (thegoodqueen) | 45 comments I'm with Kim on this also.


message 19: by Alsjem (new)

Alsjem | 6 comments me too


message 20: by aprilla (new)

aprilla | 247 comments ♪ Kim wrote: "I'm wondering if there needs to be so much detail within the audiobook category. Print book categories are typically related to the different editions - hardcovers, paperbacks, specific translation..."

Yes, that's what I do and it suits me just fine.


message 21: by CatBookMom (new)

CatBookMom | 1082 comments Another agreement with Kim. I divide my audiobooks only by source, Audible and other.


message 22: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 392 comments I agree with Kim, it's what I was thinking when I was reading all the posts in this thread. Aren't digital downloads the same length as the same audiobook on cd? It's the same version, just different format? To me, it's just an audiobook, whether it's on cd in my car or mp3 on my PC or my Sansa Clip. All these categories are confusing, at least for my unintelligent brain :)


message 23: by Regan (new)

Regan | 138 comments Like paper books, audio books have different bindings and that's the list we're trying to narrow and update here.

Where you bought your copy is a matter for your own shelves. The issue here is not how we shelve our books, but the categorization in the book's meta-record on Goodreads.

Since I started this thread, I've been adding virtually all my books using the "audiobook" category because there isn't anything better, but it's unsatisfying. But just because most of us are listening to a download format now, doesn't mean that there aren't other formats still available. Libraries still offer lots of cassettes.

I keep coming back to the "container" concept which is what that list seems to represent. What sort of container does this book have? Hardback? Mass market paperback? Library binding? CDs? Digital download? Though the list also currently makes format distinctions with large print being an option.

One publisher might issue the book in three different formats, but in two containers: CDs, MP3 CDs*, and digital download. Each of these has a different ISBN, but if you don't have the ISBN to hand, how do you narrow the long list of books you're looking at to find the copy you have? This is especially an issue since it's so difficult to trace ISBNs for books bought from Audible. You might have the ASIN from Amazon, but if it's been entered with the ISBN it won't come up in a search even though it's the same edition. If you didn't buy the original version and someone just handed it to you, how would you describe it?

I think there's as much difference between a cassette version and a digital download as there is between the mass market paper and a hardcover. I don't love the idea of just "audiobook". Moreover, it only works if all the other categories (CD, MP3, etc.) are removed and merged into audiobook.





*I now understand that publishers issue CDs with different file formats on them. I wasn't aware of that at the beginning of this discussion. I'm still not sure that it's a useful distinction, since most people don't know what kind of files their CDs contain.


message 24: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) | 196 comments I think I actually disagree with Kim; as Regan says, "there's as much difference between a cassette version and a digital download as there is between the mass market paper and a hardcover". I have cassettes (because my car has a cassette player); I have Audible downloads; I have podcasts. I like to, when possible, be able to sort my books by format, because that's my indicator of where they're to be found: hardcovers are in a separate bookcase from paperbacks, and if I forget that I have "Prisoner of Azkaban" on cassette I'll go crazy trying to figure out why it isn't in my Audible library.

Just to add a new wrinkle - Would it be useful, do you all think, to have a designation of "podcast"? It's a pretty different animal than a straight audiobook, in some cases; some, like Craftlit, come along with podcaster commentary and listener feedback - they're sort of enhanced versions.


message 25: by Care (new)

Care (bkclubcare) I agree with Kim on that I want narrator to be identified. I wish Audible gave ISBN - perhaps this is a good question for our new Audible rep. But I also like to know if it was a CD version or downloaded from Audible which happen to be the only two ways that work for me and my technology. I would also like to know hours and don't usually care about the quantity of CDs,


message 26: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 392 comments I definitely agree about the narrator being listed. That's far more important to an audio version IMO than what format it takes. If you're used to having one narrator, particularly for a series, and it's someone very different that you don't like as well, you'd want to be able to rate that version accordingly.


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