02 Jun 2014

Audio Book Bask

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What do they do in audio books that have a lot of tables (with numbers, I don’t mean furniture)? I ask because I know an author who is doing an audio book for his self-published book, and it contains–you guessed it–a lot of tables, and these are fairly important to his argument.

10 Responses to “Audio Book Bask”

  1. bedwere says:

    I listened to Man, Economy, and State, with Power and Market, read by Jeff Riggenbach and available on mises.org. He reads the table and it helps. However, I think that including a pdf with jsut the tables / figures would be a helpful.

  2. Z says:

    What do they do for picture books, that’s what I want to know. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your average toddler is reading a heck of a lot more than any of us.

    • Matt M -Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

      When I was a kid my parents bought some sort of ridiculous set of books that had educational/uplifting stories, and also had accompanying tapes so you could “listen along.” The books had a lot of pictures, the tapes had very distinct voices and even some sound effects. Combined it was a pretty interesting experience for a young kid.

      I still remember the first story. It was about Shamu the whale.

      • Z says:

        I saw a video two years ago where a killer whale was bashing and killing a trainer in the pool. I don’t think it’s name was Shamu though. It was all captured on video and the audio for the video was basically everyone who was watching screaming continuously as he dragged her around and beat her to break all her vertebrae. I figured out long ago that life is not like the way the fairy tale type parks in Orlando present it as.

  3. Josiah says:

    In “Expert Political Judgment” they just read out the tables. It was painful.

    On the other hand, I think some books will let you download a pdf of the tables in a separate file, and then the audio narrator will occasionally say things like “see table 23 in the downloadable pdf file.”

  4. Major-Freedom says:

    Sometimes the speaker will read out the data in the tables, sometimes not.

    IMO, when they read out a lot of data, like for those big tables and whatnot, it gets kind of monotonous. I personally wouldn’t mind tables being read out, but if it takes like 5 minutes to read all the data in a table, then fuggetaboutit.

  5. Joseph Fetz says:

    Most will include supplementary material that can be viewed on a computer. Other than that, you’re left with the text as read by the narrator. There really is no sure-fire way to describe graphs and/or tables in narration without making the whole world fall asleep. Thus, they don’t, and instead provide supplementary material to be viewed on a computer.

    It’s actually pretty funny: to consider a narrator describing the graphs and tables associated with a book on tape. Can you imagine how long it would take to describe it, how they would go about describing it, let alone how dry it would be? They could never sell a copy of their book on tape: it would take up almost a terabyte of data!

  6. andrew' says:

    I got nothin, can’t recall any examples so I’ll be captain obvious and point out that they usually don’t.

    Otoh this must be a book for an audience that can handle it. Can he convert the table into a graph or equation that can be described? Maybe put the straight reading of the table at the end in an audio appendix. Put digital stops before and after so it can be skipped or re-listened repeatedly. Again, this audience must be willing to slog through it to some extent.

    I hate tables even when i can see them. You can’t really just look at a table and get a feel unless you are synesthetic or something. You have to convert it into thoughts and conclusions I’m your mind so I might do it for the listener.

  7. Tel says:

    If the table is large and complex, no one can take it in anyhow. A page of numbers is meaningless at the best of times. A chart of some sort is the only way to get a feel for the data.

    I worked with a blind guy for a few years and we both agreed there’s no way to convert a chart into audio. You can however use a touch screen plus audio feedback to allow the person to feel their way around the chart, but that could get annoying when driving.

    My advice is read out the small charts, and just make a mention of the large charts with some other way of access (e.g. web page) something to do later. Very unlikely you will lose book sales when people just read the tables and nothing else.

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