How many of you have read a book, seen the movie, and also had the OCD to listen to the audiobook? I can’t say that about many creative works, but I can for Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
I first watched the Stardust movie when it came out in theaters and thought it was a cute story with some interesting actor portrayals. None more outlandish or hilarious than Robert DeNiro as the cross-dressing skyship captain. I walked out of the theater, thought to myself “that was an interesting movie,” and then went home, thinking little more of it.
A few years later I was working at a bookstore and saw the illustrated book version on the shelf. I don’t usually do this, but I grabbed it and read the whole book that night. Which was better? The movie was superior in many ways, but the book had a lot of redeeming factors, such as the illustrations and the flow of the narrative. It read like an adult fairy tale, which was what the author intended.
Seven years later, I heard in a podcast that the ultimate, best version of the story is the audiobook read by the author, Neil Gaiman. I gave it a shot, listening to it on my iPod on my long walks to class. Gaiman’s voice might as well be velvet. He does a great job with the various voices and his British-ness definitely added a whimsical feeling to the words. Although the movie’s climax makes more sense, the audiobook is definitely where I would start if I hadn’t read or seen anything Stardust.
Will Audio Be King?
Audiobooks are quickly becoming a more popular media type for creative works. Audiobook sales at Audible have increased as much as 40% between 2015 and 2016. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is only one of many examples of audiobooks done right. There are some full cast versions of books that I’m told are stellar. Likewise, authors can often bring their own characters to life better than anyone else could.
Another thing to consider is the increased availability of audiobooks at public libraries. Did you know you can get digital versions of audiobooks for free from the library without leaving your house? Using Overdrive you can put it directly on your phone or iPod. Welcome to the 21st Century, people!
Is Audio going to continue to grow? Have you listened to an audiobook recently that you loved? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check it out!