Am I Audible, Audible?

Some audiobooks should include a few sample pages of the text along with your download.

Like any conscious (and subconscious??) decision by the author, how a book formats and fonts its text could resonate with meaning; why else would they have chosen to subvert conventional formatting?

But Steven! Most booksellers provide free excerpts online; non-lazy audiobookers need only consult one of these outlets to check the textual design.

WELL, how about books that change formatting from chapter to chapter??

Take Jennifer Egan’s weeks-old The Candy House. Its later sections boast radical, and radically- illustrative formatting, which act as our overall frames for the micro-stories they house. So, yeah, important stuff. And even if the narrators attempt to explain the visual look of these literary illustrations — or, if they try to channel this wonky syntax in their “performance” of the words (yes, it’s a performance) — a peripheral glance at the design on the page would more easily aid aural comprehension.

And then, there are books like Sean Thor Conroe’s Fuccboi. The second half starts telling two timelines at once, differentiated only by seamless, sometimes mid-sentence italicization. The orator could alternate the sound of their voice to separate the two…but giving listeners a mere gander at a single page would more clearly key them into what this switching is intended to convey.

Why not do it? What am I missing here? What are we missing here?


Realization-cum-reminiscence: the aforementioned free online excerpts are the book world’s version of movie trailers, ya? Widely accessible and gratis pieces of the pieces of art?

This comparison reminds me: what happened to trailers that are nothing more — and nada less! — than one long continuous scene from the movie?

We have to go back, Kate.


While we’re on the subject of lamenting trivialities: shouldn’t all audiobooks always record the acknowledgements? Are they not a part of the books or something?

Grumble grumble grumble.

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