If you read my blog regularly you are probably an audiobook listener.  (If not what are you doing here? Seriously let me know in the comments).  We all have pet peeves when listening to an audiobook – I’ve listed a few of mine and included some others that bug other audiobook reviewers out there.

1.) “You’re not really reading are you?”

I wish I could even explain to you how much this frustrates me.  So because I’m an auditory learner – or because I know more than one person who has a visual impairment we’re not “reading” by your standard.  Eff your standard.

2.) Changing Narrators Mid Series (Thanks to Audiobookreviewer.com for this one) – you finally get three books into a series and there’s someone new reading to you? What the? Why? (I know the real reason for this most of the time but it still irks me).  If you’re going to publish your series as audiobooks – you should make sure that the narrator wants to do all (x) books and that you can afford to keep them around.

3.) Poor Casting – I have no problem with a girl reading a guys part or vice versa – that doesn’t bug me.  It’s when the publisher (this isn’t usually a problem with self-published books) doesn’t even make an effort. I’ve given only a few bad reviews for narrators – and they were always because they were poorly cast for a book.  Example: a southern male playing a giddy female for the entire story.  She wasn’t a sub character or someone I could ignore – she was the MAIN CHARACTER.  Ugh… this one still bugs me to this day (the publisher blacklisted me for this review and now recast the narrator – but still didn’t pick a female narrator).

4.) Excessive branding / taking away from the audiobooks cover – There are two specific brands that do not do this well and one that I think nails it on the head. I don’t want to call anyone out – but I’m going to here because it bugs me that much.  One of them is Recorded Books – they have that red branding across the entire top and bottom and seem to not even put any effort in making the cover approachable.  Recorded Books – if anyone from your company reads this I love what you do except for the covers.  Making an audiobook cover isn’t hard.  I’ve even helped a few narrators with this.

The other publisher that does this is Wild Rose Press, Inc.  I think they are doing this so that they don’t have to edit the original – they are putting it on the left side.  It makes it stand out really harshly.  Sure, this can work to their benefit if you’re looking for more books by them – but it feels a little too “indie”.

A publisher that does a great job with this is Podium.  They have the exact same branding on every image and it makes them stand out without looking unprofessional or too “indie”.  They also remake a lot of their covers (and just crush it).  They have a specific brand that they are going for and nail it.

5.) Overboard male/female voices.  This happens when you have a male or female narrator who is trying to sound like the opposite sex.  It usually sounds incredibly bad and overdone.  (Thanks to Lilyn from Sci-Fi & Scary for this one). 

6.) Abridged Audiobooks – Sure in some cases where there is a ton of science or notation – I can be okay with this – but why on Earth would I want to hear a shorter version of the story? This doesn’t seem to be a big issue now, but there are a lot of older books that I want to pick up and realize they’re Abridged… why?

7.) Monotone delivery – this is pretty obvious one but it happens more than you would think.  Put SOME effort into it.  (Thanks to Mike aka michaelpatrickhicks.com for this pet peeve)

8.) Over and Under Acting – there is this line between no performance and too much performance that is starting to be a trend. (Thanks again to Paul at audiobookreviewer.com for this pet peeve)

9.) Sound Effects and Random Music (unless graphic audio) – I don’t know if there is a specific publisher that does this more than others (it’s not one I listen to a lot) but when there is a ton of effects or music during the audiobook it does the opposite of what I think they’re expecting.  It pulls me completely out of the book.

10.) Shoddy Recording & Catch-all – audio issues (mouth breathing, inhales before each line, pops/clicks, volume changes/issues, bad mics, bad recordings, repeated words/sentences).


Once again, thanks to these other audiobook reviewers that helped me with this list:

Audiobook Reviewer

Sci-Fi & Scary

Michael Patrick Hicks

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Audiobook Pet Peeves

  1. Oh lord, yes about the music. Now, I don’t mind sound effects so much, but when they do music between chapters it drives me nuts and yanks me out of the story!

    1. Music at the intro – cheesy but something I got used to. Music in between chapters or randomly in the audiobook – that just bugs me.

  2. I don’t get abridged audiobooks either, except to guess that it’s to save money on the publisher’s end. One abridged production that I really, really, good and truly do not at all understand is Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart. In print, this sucker is only 176 pages, and there are two audiobook editions. The full, unabridged edition read by Jeffrey Kafer runs 3 hours and 8 minutes. For whatever reason (cash grab?), there is an abridged edition read by Barker himself that runs for a total of 2 hours and 53 minutes. What even is the point of that?

    On sound effects/music – I’m usually OK with it. Especially for the Star Wars audiobooks. I won’t even bother reading the print editions now, because the audiobooks are so much to listen to and feel fully immersive of the Star Wars universe with its blaster fire, droid noises, and score. I love em!

  3. I have nearly jumped out of my skin with some of those books that include sound effects. And the sounds effects are always at top volume!! I think they’re trying to kill their audience. I’ve run into ALL of the above and can’t disagree with any of them. I also go a little nuts when a narrator is unpolished. I once attempted to listen to one whose narrator was pausing and “ah”ing all over the place and mispronouncing words. I had to shut it off before my head exploded.

    1. Yeah, I can prepare for them if I know they’re coming but you’re totally right. They usually come out of nowhere and blow my headphones off.

  4. When every sentence by the narrator sounds like the author used an exclamation point!! Seriously! I’ve stopped listening only because narration was awful!!

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