To shorten, reduce, or lessen the contents of an original work.
If you are writing a document knowing its intended audience may have a limited amount of time with which to read it, you might want to consider making an abridged version. When an original document has been reduced in contents, shortened, or lessened in scope while retaining its most fundamental elements, it has become abridged. An abridged version of a work is typically included along with its lengthier original to give the reader the option to delve deeper into the details should they need to.
Business plans and proposals will often include an abridged or ‘dehydrated’ version that condenses the original version down somewhere between five to ten pages long. Each section of the business plan is summarized into several sentences within these pages so that only the most crucial information remains. In effect, an abridged version is a highly efficient means to get your point across to someone, such as a manager or CEO, who doesn’t have time for the full version. When writing an abridged version, therefore, it is important to remember that it should not only provide a snapshot of your idea but also be enticing enough for its reader to want to learn more.
It is not uncommon for an abridged business plan to include a table of contents near the beginning for more straightforward navigation. An executive summary, an even shorter version of the proposal, should also be included. However, do keep in mind that too many subheadings and subsections–even if only a few sentences each–may intimidate the reader into believing the abridged version is more complicated than it seems. So, as is the case with abridged novels, textbooks, and other shortened documents, getting across the most fundamental and interesting information is of the utmost importance.
Real-World Example of Abridge
We can find one interesting example of abridged works in the recent changes within the audiobook industry. For readers who couldn’t find the time of day to sit down and read a novel, audiobooks enabled them to experience the story everywhere, from their morning run to their evening commute. With audiobook publishers of the late 90s and early 2000s fearing this active audience wouldn’t listen to anything over ten hours, abridged versions became popularized.
Although these abridged versions were careful not to trade out any of a book’s central themes for efficiency’s sake, according to Voices.com, however, unabridged versions were really what audiobook listeners were seeking. With 67 million Americans completing at least one audiobook in 2019, many audiobooks on the market today are unabridged versions despite originally being published abridged.
Abridged audiobooks do remain relevant even if they are no longer the more commonly bought version. While some readers may argue the “fluff” abridged audiobooks cut out are actually some of the best parts, abridged versions of stories are highly useful for students studying a novel, for more cost-effective production, or for voracious readers simply wanting to consume as many stories as they can.