Correctly Format An Audiobook For Your iPod


Today I will be going over how to format your audiobooks in such a way that they appear in the "Audiobooks" section of your iTunes and your iPod. Adherence to this method will result in, not only better organization, but also a better listening experience. What I will show you includes how to convert files into a special audio format which is able to leave a virtual ‘bookmark’ in the file every time you decide to change the music or shut your iPod/iTunes down. This guide is for Windows XP users.


— Rip / import audiobook into your iTunes

Okay… the first step, obviously, is getting your audiobook tracks into iTunes. You can do this by inserting an audiobook CD and clicking the import button, or (if the files are already on your hard drive) by click FILE > Add Folder to Library… From here, simply select the folder containing your audiobook files.

Step 2:

— Converting files to AAC

This is a two part step:

First go into iTunes preferences (Edit > Preferences). Select the Advanced tab, and then the ‘Importing’ sub-tab. Make sure that you have ‘AAC Encoder’ selected in the second drop down menu (see figure 1).

Apple requires you to convert your files to their own proprietary format before they are able to be recognized as an audiobook. To do this, simply highlight all the files that make up your audiobook and select ‘Convert Selection to AAC’ rom the ‘Advanced’ menu at the top of the screen, or right click each individual file and select ‘Convert Selection to AAC’.

Once the files are encoded as AAC, you have one step left…

Step 3:

— Changing file types from .m4a to .m4b

For this step we must set each file to show its 3 letter filetype extension after its name. To do this, open the folder containing your newly encoded AAC files (right-click and select ‘Show in Windows Explorer’). Within the folder, select Tools > Folder Options. Next, select the ‘View’ tab and make sure that the ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ is UNchecked.

You will now see the 3 letter extensions after each file name (see below).

Notice how your encoded audiobook files are all now .m4a files. The final process is the manually rename each of these files to .m4b …simply replace the ‘a’ with a ‘b’.

Once that is done, you have a fully functioning audiobook. If this process does not work right away, try removing the files from you iTunes library and adding them back in. The files should then appear under the AUDIOBOOKS section.

— A much easier way to do this is to download the program MarkAble which not only automates this conversion process, but is also able to merge the audio files into one.


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