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Post Posted:: January 20th, 2006, 3:59 pm 

Joined: September 26th, 2005, 5:47 pm
Posts: 604
Wonderful article from the New York Times at this link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/20/books/20audi.html?adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1137798017-8GTi3N87jRG8OZ6nbnf2Aw

"How Should a Book Sound? And What About Footnotes?"

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Post Posted:: January 20th, 2006, 5:19 pm 

Joined: January 4th, 2006, 3:11 am
Posts: 1262
Location: Tampa, FL
Thanks for spotting and providing a link to that excellent article, Paula! It really does show how a spoken performance is fundamentally different from a printed one. There are a lot of interesting options mentioned too; I'm not sure if any one of them is "right" but it seems as if it's appropriate to use different techniques in different situations.

One thing really did surprise me: according to a recent AudioFile magazine survey, 53 percent of audiobook buyers listen while driving. Frankly I'm surprised that it's that low. Driving is such a huge part of our culture that I'd have been sure that the figure was a lot closer to 100%.

Incidentally, if that article asks anyone to register, let me recommend a visit to http://bugmenot.com/ which allows you to bypass compulsory registration for most sites.

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The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
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Post Posted:: January 20th, 2006, 5:26 pm 

Joined: November 29th, 2005, 5:10 pm
Posts: 3148
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Thanks for the link, Paula. This is fascinating, to see how the pros do it since it is something we have debated ourselves! It's nice to see that their solution is the same as ours... do whatever seems appropriate!

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"I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice." ~Whitman


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Post Posted:: January 20th, 2006, 6:02 pm 

Joined: September 26th, 2005, 5:47 pm
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As I was reading the article, I remembered how my father used to read the funnies to me when I was little. He used to describe what was going on in the picture and then say things like, "And then he says...." This casual approach worked really well. I like the idea of doing pictures, charts, footnotes, etc. that way. A very personal touch.

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Post Posted:: January 23rd, 2006, 2:43 am 

Joined: January 23rd, 2006, 12:49 am
Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I wonder what percentage listen to audio books while using transit? That's one place I listen. That and doing housework, direct from the stereo then rather than using headphones. My list of podcasts is getting so big I'm going to have to start trimming it -- there are only so many hours in a day!

I'd be interested to hear some of the examples of footnote deployment in an audio format. I would think you'd want to insert the ones deemed most essential directly into the narrative, and then you could make optional ones available via designated buttons or button combinations on a portable device used with headphones, onscreen buttons and/or key combos in playback software on a computer, and maybe even finally a practical use for voice commands when listening over speakers at home or in the car. And/or the low-tech approach of a printed or on-screen glossary.


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Post Posted:: January 23rd, 2006, 9:16 am 

Joined: January 3rd, 2006, 8:34 pm
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Location: Keene NH
Well, I can give you an example of something we did that had footnotes, Machiavelli's The Prince. We had a good discussion about it in that thread, although I don't remember if we came to any definite conclusions.

http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=666

In my recording, I read the footnote directly in the narrative where it appeared. Begin your note with "begin note" and end with "end note". I then repeated the sentence that contained the note (without the note) to bring the listener back to the text.

While reading Journey to the Interrior of the Earth, I did it a little different. I read the notes at the end of each paragraph so I didn't feel the need to reread the sentence. So if a note came in the middle of the paragraph, it waited to be read until I finished.

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Post Posted:: January 23rd, 2006, 9:50 am 

Joined: January 23rd, 2006, 12:49 am
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Varying the approach depending on the nature of the text makes sense. There were parts of the Moby Dick edition I read that were so peppered with notes it would drive a listener nuts. It was almost twenty years ago, but I also recall having to flip back a lot to an appendix that described in detail with a diagram all the different parts of a whaling ship and the equipment on board, so I could follow the action during scenes on board the ship and figure out what the characters were doing. With something like that one would probably want to have some Adobe Acrobat PDF files for the listener to download and print for reference.

Another classic that comes to mind that is riddled with references obcure to a modern reader is Laurence Sterne's "Tristam Shandy". One of the characters is an old guy, the narrator's uncle I think, who is an old soldier and is obsessed with the details of military fortification technology of the day, which was a complex science unto itself with its own extensive vocabulary, and again the book had an appendix with diagrams and detailed descriptions so you could figure out what the old fellow was on about. In such cases a picture is truly worth a thousand words. For an audio book reader to try to explain the details without a diagram would be far less clear and more time-consuming than simply providing the reader with a diagram.

On the other hand, notes explicating Sterne's extensive references to cultural and political figures, institutions, and events of the day would likely be better read along with the text, at naturally occurring pause points in the narrative, as it sounds like you did with "Journey to the Interior of the Earth."

One could also have a different reader record the notes, and the splice them in after, using the the two different voices to rapidly and transparently differentiate original text and notes. You could use different gendered voices for each, making it very easy to distinguish the two.


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Post Posted:: January 23rd, 2006, 10:03 am 

Joined: January 3rd, 2006, 8:34 pm
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Location: Keene NH
This would actually be a handy use of ReVoxer as well! I just thought that it would be useful that you could still actually read the footnotes, without having the audio interrupted. I'm just thinking aloud so to speak, but one could put a little note in the text when a footnote appears that says "Pause for note" and insert the note in the text where it appears. Hmm....

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