Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
First and foremost: I absolutely love this book. The only thing better than reading it is listening to the stunning performance by Jim Dale. I've listened to the cassette version more times than I can count. I was thrilled when I found out I could finally get a proper digital copy. That being said, this audio product is a disgrace to the format.
I am horrified. Horrified at the thoughtlessness with which this audiobook was published. I cannot believe that this, the official audiobook on iTunes/iBooks sanctioned by Rowling herself, that costs almost $50, has ads. ADS! It's hard to describe the degree to which I hate whoever decided that adding a plug for Audible at the beginning of the book was a good idea. Do they really think I just payed a premium price to hear that the book I know and love is "brought to me by Audible"? No. Just no.
But that pales in comparison to how obnoxious the plugs in the middle of this book are. Apparently Audible takes the liberty of separating the audiobook into multiple parts to "help it download faster" (a ridiculous justification for something that was released in 2015). They also felt the need to explain this with an audio track inserted right in the middle of the book. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Nothing transports you out of an immersive story faster than a computer-voiced public service announcement about the technological ineptitude of the publisher jammed in between the chapters.
And, speaking of chapters, for my $50 they couldn't be bothered to split the audio up by chapter (it's broken into arbitrary "tracks"). They couldn't even be bothered to title the tracks properly. They are literally just labeled "Track 1", "Track 2", etc. How is that useful? How am I supposed to navigate the book? It's no better than my old cassettes and that is just infuriatingly lazy.
All in all, It's simply incredible that someone could take a 5-star book with a 5-star audio performance and utterly ruin it into a 1-star product. Lose the shameless ads. Lose the idiotic PSAs. Treat the audio version of this book like the brilliant, masterfully crafted, continuous story that it is.
Shame on everyone who had a hand in producing this needlessly modified digital edition. And shame on me for enabling you with my purchase. I would take it back if I could. I'll be posting this review for all of the audiobooks in the series so nobody falls prey to this without some warning.