Monday, June 14, 2021

Mandarin Companion graded readers review: Part 2, Formats

 Note: since writing this post, Mandarin Companion has a new look. Some details may be different in the new versions.

Print, Kindle, Apple Books, Audible, Kobo … so many ways to enjoy your Companions!

Print versions

So far in my studies, I’ve mainly focused on the print versions of the books. I like being able to carry them around and spend less time reading a digital screen. The books are fairly small, so they fit nicely in my purse, ready for me to whip out and impress all my friends and strangers. (In my mind, at least.) They have a few colorful illustrations throughout, but not too many. I do like the illustrations, even though it might make the books look a little less intended for adults. I’ve noticed a stray error here and there in the print versions, but then I’m a good nit-picker, at least at other people’s work!

Kindle, Apple Books, Kobo electronic versions

In addition to paper form through Amazon, the Mandarin Companion books are also available on Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo. Some have audio readings on Audible. I am not familiar with Apple Books or Kobo, so I can’t comment on those formats.

I have purchased a couple of the books for Kindle. When I don’t have a paper copy at hand, I usually use the Kindle app on my phone to read. Using the app, I am able to look up many of the words using the Kindle dictionary. The book itself has links for certain words to the glossary in the back of the book, too. I find navigating back and forth to be tedious on my phone, though. However, it is entirely possible that this is due to my ignorance regarding how Kindle works on the phone. I am not an extremely frequent user of the Kindle format. That said, I should probably use a Kindle device more. The links to the key word glossary and navigation back to the text seem to work pretty well using a device.

Example Mandarin Companion page from The Misadventures of Zhou Haisheng - Breakthrough level book (Kindle)
Example Mandarin Companion page on the Kindle with picture
Example Mandarin Companion page from The Misadventures of Zhou Haisheng - Breakthrough level book (Kindle)
Example Mandarin Companion page from The Misadventures of Zhou Haisheng – Breakthrough level book (Kindle)

Audible audiobooks

I am a big fan of Audible, so I was excited to see audiobook versions of some of the books. I currently own three of the Mandarin Companion books in audiobook form in addition to print form. The quality of the recordings I listened to was good. The reader has a very clear voice with standard pronunciation and a steady pace. However, there are some areas that, as a consumer of many audiobooks over the years, I felt fell a little short. The books have multiple characters (the people kind!) and a decent amount of dialog. In my opinion, the best audiobooks have a reader that adds to the telling of the story by differentiating voices and including emotion appropriate to the dialog. Without this, I find audiobooks very hard to follow. As such, I find these audio readings to be acceptable to read along to or to listen to after reading the print version, but I would not buy them as stand-alone audiobooks.

The Audible books are broken up well into chapters, so it’s easy to stay in sync between your print book and your audiobook if you are reading along. The audiobooks are roughly an hour to 1.5 hours long.

Mandarin Companion website

Mandarin Companion graded readers review: Part 1, Levels

Mandarin Companion graded readers review: Part 3, Features

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Wild Idea: Language School

I had been mulling over the idea for a while. My Chinese was approaching intermediate level, where basic Chinese is too easy, but native Chi...