Abridged vs Unabridged – What’s the Difference?

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I’ve been trying to get into audiobooks lately. I have a subscription to Scribd and have also been using Audible and Hoopla to listen to them.

psst: if you aren’t already subscribed to Audible, click here to get one month free of Audible Romance. 

Something I’ve begun to notice is that many of the audiobooks I come across, particularly long fantasy and self-help books, are that they are abridged. I avoid abridged books at all times.

A few days ago I was talking to a friend about being frustrated that one of the books I was trying to find an audiobook for I could only find an abridged version, and she asked me what the difference between abridged and unabridged was. So, I thought it’d explain it here on the blog as well.

When a book is abridged, it’s a shortened, more concise version of the book. Someone reading or listening to an abridged version of a book will still understand the plot and themes of the book, but might miss out on the smaller scenes.

An abridged book is sometimes a great choice for students who don’t have enough time to listen to the much-longer original version of a book or to people who want to understand a book in a short period of time.

Unabridged, however, is the original, full-length version of the book. This is the route I always go, and for people reading for fun, it’s probably the best option.

It’s pretty simple, but knowing the difference between abridged and unabridged is important when seeking out literature.


Do you prefer abridged or unabridged books? Let me know in the comments!




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Absolutely bookish.

2 thoughts on “Abridged vs Unabridged – What’s the Difference?

  1. I think there is a deeper issue here, Penny. When I was very young my grandparents had a large set of Readers Digest books – each book containing four classic novels. These books were beautifully bound and I loved them. Whenever I visited I was allowed to borrow one of the books. It was only when I got older that I realised that each of the four novels within every single Readers Digest book was abridged. It was certainly a great introduction to good literature but I was horrified that someone would EVER abridge a novel – that is, make it something other than the author intended. (It may be that some unnecessarily long-winded novels ought to be abridged but I still believe an abridged novel is an abomination!!! LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

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