Audio books, Part II

April 5, 2009 | By Patrick | Filed in: Geek, PAS, Vacation.

Previously on the saga of audio books…
”…I chose to go the download route. ONE of my selections was ready to download.”

Great! There’s something ready for me. Making sure to begin the process within the prescribed 5 day listening window, I downloaded the book (which is really just a link to the various chapters of the book). I fired up the proprietary reader software and opened the link. Now I have to sit through downloading the chapters – it goes quickly. Time to start listening!

Or not. I’m not going to sit at my PC and listen to 10+ hours of audio. My chair is comfortable, but I have my limits.

In order to implement my master plan, I decide to burn the book to CD and rip it back to my PC in the format of my choice. Ready, go! I click the Burn button, it chugs for a couple of seconds, then it prompts me for the first of the CDs. I flip the first one in the drive and notice the comment at the bottom of the dialog box that mentions it will take 14 CDs to complete the process. Excuse me? Thinking it through it actually makes sense. You can get about an hour of audio on a CD, so 14 CDs is about right. Not wanting to use single-use CDs, I opt for CD-RW discs (which I had to go out and purchase).

Step 2 is to rip the tracks from CD to MP3. iTunes is as easy as anything, so I go through that process to get the audio in an easily-to-manipulate format. This is the easiest step thus far.

I’m not sure if it matters, but I decided to stitch the MP3s together to form one long track. The software I chose is called Merge MP3 (I know…pretty clever) that has the option to output in Audio Book format (*.m4b, didn’t know it existed) which should keep track of where I leave off in listening to the book. Again, this is a pretty simple, but it takes quite a while.

Continuing the downhill roll, I drag the big audio book file back to the iTunes Audiobook section and there it is! Add some cover art from Amazon so it looks nice on the iPod screen and we’re done.

Simple, right? Actually, it’s relatively straight-forward and easy to complete. Planning ahead is key since you might not get the book(s) right away and the burning, ripping, and stitching process will take at least a couple of hours per book.

Is it worth it? For a handful of books, I say yes. If nothing else, it was good for me to go through the process to see how hard it is. If I get into listening to books I’ll probably go with the option since the books are yours forever and they integrate seamlessly with an iPod.

If you’re interested in my specific instructions, just ask. I’ll be happy to share. Happy listening!

One comment on “Audio books, Part II

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