I’ve been thinking about getting an Audible.com subscription for a few months now. Amazon had a deal for Prime customers (leading up to their Amazon Prime Day) for 1/3 off. Instead of being $15 per month, I could purchase 12 credits for $120 for the year – same as $10 per month (for one year). Of course, next year, it will bump up to the normal price.
The first book I listened to was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
I love this book. It was every bit as interesting, listening to it this time, as it was the first time I read it oh-so-many decades ago. One nice aspect to it as an Audible product is that the book was written in the first person. So the narrator and the writing style mesh very well.
The second book I listened to was Neuromancer by William Gibson.
This one wasn’t as fun to listen to again. The thought that occurred to me often was that I wish the narrator wasn’t having to pretend to be a different voice when a different character was speaking. Every time he had to switch up his voice, I was taken out of the experience. The quality of the experience would have been far better as an audio play / radio show than as a single narrator trying to play all the characters.
Of course, that would mean more up front expense on Audible’s part, than just the one contract for the one narrator. It probably isn’t the case that bringing in several other voice actors to take over some parts would drop the expense of the main voice actor. He probably doesn’t get paid by the minute; even if the total minutes shrink a little when another actor picks up some of the lines.
What I don’t know, is if Audible / Amazon makes a lot of money in comparison to the initial outlay. If they do make a lot of money compared to the voice actor expenses, then they would be far better off delivering the highest quality experience (because the production expenses would be small in comparison to the overall return).
I enjoyed listening to Neuromancer all over again; but, it was only satisfactory. I far more enjoyed Zen and the Art of – partially because I was so fond of the original. Also, Neuromancer has way too much flowery descriptive prose that is supposed to wow me expanded horizons or some such dirt.
Next up: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I have read Cryptonomicon before; so I’m a little familiar with the author’s style. But I’ve never read Snow Crash (nor The Diamond Age), so this will be my first experience with Audible listening to a book I’ve never heard / read before.