Audible Retail Samples: Why They Suck And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

Hey there!

I was looking through a Facebook Group for professional audiobook narrators I’m in, and this question popped up:

“OK, what does ACX do to tracks after they are ‘approved,’ but before they go up for sale?”

The OP (original poster) was upset that they sounded really bad compared to how great they sounded when she uploaded them, and asked what she could do about it.

Sadly, my answer didn’t make her very happy.

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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
I was recently hanging out as I am want
to do from time to time on a Facebook
group for professional audio book
narrators and a question popped up that
reminded me about a bigger issue and the
question was okay what does a CX do two
tracks for our retail samples after they
are approved but before they go up for
and the rest of the comment was
basically that they were upset they
spend so much time making everything so
let me let me just read it to you okay
okay what does a CH do two tracks after
they are approved but before they go up
for sale I’m listening to the retail
sample of my book on and it
sounds sibilant and tinny I go back and
listen on the ACX site to the mp3 I
posted as the retail sample and it
sounds different you know normal same
laptop same headphones etc do they
routinely do something to all tracks or
are they trying to fix something
specific on my tracks now I feel all
weird and self-conscious I hope someone
can advise me and you know clearly I get
that as an audiobook narrator you want
to do your best work you want to do your
best production work you want things to
sound great and when they take stuff
that really does sound great and kind of
dumb it down you know make it sound that
you know not as good and maybe you
didn’t make it you kind of blame
yourself and think no people will think
that they won’t here’s what I wrote back
what you hear is not representative of
the actual audio that is made available
once the customer purchases your book
and that’s true because you can download
HD versions of it you can download
regular versions of it even the regular
version sound better than the retail
samples and it’s not just your retail
sample all the retail samples on suck and the reason is they
are highly compressed to what an
audiophile would consider
to be very poor quality but here’s the
thing that really doesn’t matter people
want to hear great storytelling and if
that’s there the quality could be even
worse than it is now I mean think about
AM radio
nobody sits there and states the obvious
with a emery oh my god that sound is
horrible coming out of I’m driving and
I’m listening to am right what is that
am reading right you don’t care you’re
getting the news you’re getting a
talk-show you’re getting you know ethnic
music whatever you’re listening to on AM
and it never enters your mind that the
quality sucks compared to FM and I’m not
talking about AM HD which can sound very
very good I’m talking about regular old
AM radio right people listen for content
they listen for what’s being said not
how well the the transmission is being
received it’s not it’s not an audio
files medium it’s an information junkies
medium and so a better question would be
does it matter to audible customers what
the retail sample sounds like in terms
of audio quality and the answer to that
is no it doesn’t matter one bit they’re
not sitting there with a pad and a pen
you know with your permanent record in
front of them and they’re about to
listen to your and they’re there getting
ready oh that sucks that’s horrible
you’re not even listening to your story
they’re listening to the quality of the
audio that doesn’t happen that’s not
what happens and by the way since this
is the rest of what I wrote since you
can’t control or improve on what they do
I would move this into the category of
quote things you used to be concerned
about things you used to worry about but
don’t anymore and the responses I got
back from people who should know better
about this process
we’re stunning in their anger towards
what I said I stick with what I said
look I create really good stuff in my
studio I make sure that what I put out
there is as great as I possibly can make
it and when I hear
the retail sample I hear that they’ve
compressed it down to a tiny little file
there are millions and millions of books
on each one of those retail
samples is anywhere from a minute to
five minutes and so when you count up
that amount of space on a server
even though server space is really cheap
it’s still if you made it full fidelity
quality first of all we take longer to
to stream and start streaming because
it’s a bigger file but more importantly
it doesn’t mean you save space on the
server and it doesn’t matter do you get
what I’m saying have you been through
this before have you done really good
work and then heard a sample of it as an
audiobook narrator or maybe you’ve heard
a demo of somebody on youtube or on
Facebook or on a you know IMDB or
something of your stuff and you know
when they compressed it on that
particular site they really crunch the
heck out of it and it didn’t sound as
good as it did when you did it matter to
do you care I hope not but let me know
let me know in the comments below
because I want to know what your
thoughts are and I hope this kind of
lets you off the hook in case you were
worried that you were doing something
wrong you’re not be a great storyteller
don’t worry that the retail sample on and on iTunes and on Amazon
is less than audiophile quality cuz it’s
gonna be and there’s absolutely nothing
you can do about it you can’t complain
you can’t change anything about your
production process to make it sound
better you can’t change it so don’t
worry about it instead turn all that
energy and that concentration and that
focus on being a great storyteller
that’s the one thing you can change and
I hope you do coming up we’re what do we
got this is episode 88 of the 365 day
one video a day challenge and coming up
in 12 episodes episode 100 we’re gonna
do and ask me anything session I’m gonna
go back through all of the comments that
you’ve left for all the videos and pulls
chins that are great you can ask me
anything you want you want to put
comments and ask questions you can send
me email send it to david lawrence at and put in the subject line am
a question for ask me anything question
and we’ll we’ll do it ask me anything
you want about anything that I do
anything that I’ve talked about here
about me about my history about my
equipment about about what I teach
ask me anything means ask me anything so
go ahead and do that and I will answer
them if I can in episode 100 and maybe
101 and 102 if there’s enough questions
alright listen if you want to subscribe
to my channel go ahead and click on my
head there if there’s no head look for a
subscribe button you want to see the
latest episode I’ve done go ahead and
click on that frame there and YouTube
will play it for you I’m David H
Lawrence 217 I really appreciate you
watching these videos and I will talk to
you tomorrow.

3 Responses to Audible Retail Samples: Why They Suck And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

  1. Bob McCoy March 29, 2019 at 5:18 pm #

    Great stuff! Thanks.

    • Bonnie Trost March 31, 2019 at 5:40 am #

      Your response to the poster makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explanation.

  2. Rich Peterson March 30, 2019 at 4:29 am #

    I put that under the “things I can’t control” category.
    I agree completely
    Thanks David

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