Difference Between Abridged and Unabridged Books (with Table)

In this fast-moving, modern and technological day and age, we can safely say that people have been vastly divided into two groups. The first group is those who have now slowly developed a general unappreciation for books as a form of entertainment, knowledge, or leisure, and then there is the second group who still love to read long novels, articles to gain knowledge, or for entertainment and leisure.

However, it can not be argued that reading books is a very important and well-known method of sharpening one’s brain and increasing one’s vocabulary. This is where unabridged books come into play.

In plain terms, abridged means a piece of writing that has been shortened. Now, with the rise of audiobooks, and book summaries, one might question the importance of abridged books. But the fact still lies true that abridged books provide the information in a shortened, yet more detailed manner than a summary and one might as well miss out on a few key pieces of information when listening to an audiobook.

The best form yet is still the unabridged form of a book. Nothing is more preferable than reading a full book and getting to know everything that the book wants to convey without having anyone else cut out bits and pieces of it. But this is valid only if you have got the time for it.

Abridged vs Unabridged Books

The difference between Abridged and Unabridged books is simply that abridged books are a shortened version of an entire book, journal, or article that tries to retain maximum information at the same time.

Comparison Table between Abridged and Unabridged Books

Parameters of ComparisonAbridged BooksUnabridged Books
MeaningThis refers to the shortened version of a book or journal, which retains the maximum amount of information possible.This is the original version of a book. No shortenings are done here.
PurposeRead mostly when time is less at hand, or information needs to be conveyed only, without the need for extra literature.Used when a person requires the total information or has enough time at hand.
Places of useUsed in schools, offices, and places where pieces of literature are treated objectively or for evaluative purposes.Used in reading clubs, personal use, etc.
BenefitsDoes not consume much time.Takes time to complete.
ShortcomingsAll the information might not be given. Might be biased.Is unbiased and total information is received.

What is an Abridged Book?

Abridged books are shortened books. There are various reasons as to why abridged books are so popular and why they are so widely used in so many areas. The first and foremost reason is due to the amount of time it saves the reader.

Let us take an example. School literature books is a very common area where we see stories and novels to be present in an abridged format. The reason they do so is that the job of the school is to assess the students’ literary skills, and whether or not the student is curious to know the whole story is his/her personal choice. Also, the amount of time in a school is limited and the school needs to complete its syllabus in a given timespan, and hence they use abridged books.

Another good example are office places. They need to bring forth statistical data and information in meetings, presentations, and briefings. Often, they present abridged forms of journals in these cases so as to keep the proceedings short and to the point.

Abridging books is simple. It is recommended for one to go through the article or piece of writing a couple of times or more till they feel comfortable with it. Then they go about the piece, noting down headings and subheadings. After that, in a final run-through, the gist of each of these sub-headings are written.

A couple of more run-throughs help in error correction and information accuracy.

What is an Unabridged Book?

Unabridged books are when the book has not been shortened at all. All the chapters, plots, and subplots are intact as intended by the author and are perused in the same manner.

Unabridged books are a great way to gain knowledge or spend some leisure time or for entertainment. It is widely known that reading is such an activity that not only increases your knowledge but also sharpens your brain too.

However, in this modern day and age, where the world is moving at an ever-increasing pace, it has become tough to find out the time to read a book from start to finish as a whole. Some people do read it over an extended long period of time, but that demographic is quite small. Due to the presence of distracting equipment of technology, like smartphones, it has become tough to maintain focus. However, it is always a recommended practice to maintain a good reading habit. One can always start with small books and move their way eventually up to larger ones.

Main Differences Between Abridged and Unabridged Books

  1. The main difference between abridged and unabridged books is the length. Abridged books are a shortened version of a whole book which tries to retain as much information as possible.
  2. Abridged books are mostly used in places where time is a matter of concern, while unabridged books are used where time is not an issue.
  3. Abridged books are mostly used in schools and offices, whereas unabridged books are more in use for personal reasons and reading-clubs etc.
  4. Abridged books take less time to complete when compared to their unabridged counterparts.
  5. Abridged books contain reduced information as they have been cut out from the unabridged version.


Reading is an excellent habit that increases the vocabulary and sharpens the mind alike, hence it is important to go through any kind of reading material on a daily basis. The primary reason why abridged books became a part of the reading culture is because of the lack of time humans faced in their day to day activities.

Abridged books are not in any way less beneficial than the unabridged ones, but knowing the whole story or the whole plot has a different essence in itself.



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