Convert Audio to Audiobook
I have a radio podcast that I download from a website every day that is in MP3 format. While this is great, it is quite annoying for one reason. When I listen to it on my iPod, if I switch to another playlist, I lose my place. Additionally, if I go to the library and borrow audiobooks to put on my iPod, the same thing happens. iTunes treats these MP3 files like any other song. I wanted a solution.
So I dug around and found one, and I’m going to share it here. Once again, this is a solution specific to the tools I’m using and I’m not bothering it test it on other platforms. I’m using a Windows XP machine, iTunes and an Apple iPod/iPhone. While the ideas here are sound and it will work for THESE configurations, I make no promises for your Mac or your Samsung MP3 player. But feel free to try and comment below.
You will need iTunes and a free Software called Chapter and Verse. You can download it HERE and install it. If you enjoy his software, you can also make a donation. I did. 🙂
Getting Files from Audio CD’s
Sometimes you’ll be converting MP3 files you’ve downloaded and sometimes you’ll have an advantage that you’ve got a set of CD’s that you bought or borrowed. Even from the Library. Before my last family trip, I borrowed a set of Harry Potter disks and used this method to put it on my iPod.
- Insert CD with iTunes already open
- Choose one of the CD Lookup Results that most closely matches the format you’d like to see. Make sure that you use the same format on every disk from the same set.
- If you don’t like the one you selected, you can choose another by selecting all of the files (Ctrl A), right clicking and selecting “Get Track Names” to select another.
- If you don’t see one that matches exactly or there isn’t one, select all of the files on the disk by hitting Ctrl A. Right Click and select “Get Info” to change the information. I recommend:
- Artist = Author
- Album = Book Title
- Person reading the book = Book Title
- Often there are multiple tracks per chapter of a book. It is handy to group the tracks together ahead of time. To do this, select all of the tracks of a chapter. You can do this by clicking the top track then Shift and the bottom track, or Ctrl and all of the ones you want to select. This is a Multi-select. Once you’ve selected all of the tracks you want selected, go to the toolbar at the top of iTunes to Advanced > Join CD Tracks.
- Once everything is set up the way that you like, go to the CD icon on the left, Right Click and hit “Import CD”
- Repeat this for all of the CD’s.
Make a Playlist and Check your Files
- Once your CD (or MP3’s) are imported into iTunes, create a Playlist and make sure everything is named the same, especially the Artist & Genre, so they will be in the same iTunes folder.
- Check your Chapter Titles so that they are ordered properly CH01, CH02 … CH09, CH10, CH11, etc. Otherwise 10 will come before 2 in the title names when they are in alphabetical order. Sort your tracks.
- Once you are happy with your naming conventions, right click on one of the files and select “Show in Windows Explorer”
- If this folder only contains this book, I recommend you go up one folder, go to the Properties of the folder containing your book files, do a right-click, Properties and see how many files are in the folder. It should match the number of files in your iTunes playlist.
- Or, check manually
- Make a note of the file location
If this is a repeat action, you can skip some steps – for example, I download some audio files from a radio show on a monthly basis. In this case, it’s not necessary to load the MP3s into iTunes first. I download them directly into a folder and don’t open them or check them in iTunes since I’ve done that step before and know those filetypes work. Especially note this since iTunes might change your filenames and make your life difficult.
Use the Chapter and Verse Software
- Open Chapter and Verse
- I did Harry Potter Book One which was 9 hours and decided to split it into 2 files.
- Click on the “Add Files” button and browse to the folder where your book files are located.
- Select the portion you wish to add. I used half the book.
- You might get a warning about the final size of your file. It will probably not be a problem unless you have a very old iPod. I recommend you test after making one file.
If you’re using MP3 files directly downloaded, here they will need to be converted to AA3 format by Chapter and Verse through iTunes. Be patient as this can take some time.
- I recommend you set Chapters to Chapter Numbering Style Combined.
- By default, chapter bookmarks will be set according to your input files
- I recommend you have iTunes open to your book playlist and open Chapter And Verse in front of it.
- The “No” column will match the numbers in your iTunes column. Rename the chapter names you want to keep from the bottom to the top. THEN delete the ones you don’t need.
- Go to the Metadata tab and set it up to look however you want it to look. (Name = Book Name Part 1)
- Then hit “Build Audiobook”
- After saving, decide if you want it to save to iTunes for you. (I say yes)
For my radio show, in the Chapters tab, I set the Input Files to “Filename”. This makes the chapter titles the name of the files, which works well for a radio show.
- Go back to iTunes
- Test your files to be sure they sound like they should and seem to be in the proper order. Hook up your iPod and make sure the files play properly if this is the first time you’ve used this system.
- Go to your book playlist and remove the files you just merged from the list AND send it to the recycle bin IF you’ve tested your audiobook file. Do this so that (Book Name Part 2) will start with #1. Repeat the section on “Use the Chapter and Verse Software” for the remaining files if you had to split your large book.