itunes

Audiobook Builder 1.5

by Michael Alderete on 5/30/2011 · 1 comment

My recommended solution for creating digital audiobooks from CDs, Audiobook Builder, has recently been updated, and comes with a new feature for renaming the chapters in an audiobook:

Rename Chapters feature

I don’t know that I’d want to use this on every book, but for those without interesting or meaningful chapter names (or if you’re just not as anal retentive as I am), this can be a nice time savings to make your chapter titles look neat and regular. This is especially useful if you’re creating a separate track for every chapter, and want to keep chapters in the right order. (I recommend a different approach, but it’s up to you.)

Other new features include additional metadata support, something that’s very welcome. All in all, a great update — and free to registered users!

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Free download of Walden by Henry David Thoreau

by Michael Alderete on 4/7/2011

Henry David Thoreau's WaldenFor a limited time, you can download a free audiobook of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden read by Mel Foster. This is the commercial version of the book, which retails for $23-33.

The unabridged audiobook is provided as MP3 files, which you can simply drag into iTunes, and then sync to your iPod or iPhone for listening. You can change their Media Kind to have iTunes treat them as audiobook tracks, or with a little more work, you can convert them to a single audiobook file.

Note: If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an account on Tantor Media’s site, which will sign you up for their newsletter where, among other things, you can learn about future free downloads.

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Free download of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

by Michael Alderete on 10/20/2010

Mary Shelley's FrankensteinFrom now through Halloween, you can download a free audiobook of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein read by Simon Vance. Vance is an extraordinary narrator, winner of many awards, and certainly a Golden Voice. This is a high-quality production.

The unabridged audiobook is provided as MP3 files, which you can simply drag into iTunes, and then sync to your iPod or iPhone for listening. You can change their Media Kind to have iTunes treat them as audiobook tracks, or with a little more work, you can convert them to a single audiobook file.

Note: If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an account on Tantor Media’s site, which will sign you up for their newsletter where, among other things, you can learn about future free downloads.

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Making Nearly Perfect Audiobooks

by Michael Alderete on 1/30/2009 · 15 comments

This is an overview of my current process for importing audiobooks. It’s a preview of my forthcoming (no, really, I promise) update to my instructions for importing audiobooks from CDs into iTunes. For OCD types, anal-retentives, and Harry Potter fans (hello brothers and sisters!), this preview may be sufficient for you to follow along on your own computers. For normal people, it’s a look at how much effort it still is to create audiobooks that behave as you’d expect and desire in iTunes and on an iPod.

The Motivation

But before seeing the tedious steps, here’s the why of it. Audiobooks processed as I do below are easier to organize and navigate, and they behave the way I want them to, instead of behaving as individual tracks.

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iTunes 8 is great for audiobook lovers

by Michael Alderete on 9/11/2008 · 23 comments

The number one question I receive from visitors to Aldo on Audiobooks is How do I get my audiobooks to show up in the Audiobooks section of iTunes and my iPod/iPhone? With the release of iTunes 8, I can replace hundreds of (a thousand?) words with a single screen shot:

iTunes track info options panel

Well, maybe a few words are still in order. Here’s the new process, which will work every time:

  1. Import your audiobook using your favorite process, in your favorite audio format. (I’ve written detailed instructions for both standard Audio CD audiobooks and for MP3 CD audiobooks.)
  2. Select the imported track(s) in iTunes, and choose File > Get Info, and then click on the Options tab, to get to the Track Info Options panel.
  3. From the Media Kind pop-up menu, choose “Audiobook”.
  4. Check the Remember playback position and Skip when shuffling options.
  5. Click the OK button.

From now on, iTunes, iPods, and iPhones will all treat the track(s) as full audiobooks, including remembering playback position automatically (saving your “bookmark”), skipping the track when you’re playing a random shuffle of music, and allowing you to speed up or slow down playback with the Settings > Audiobooks speed options on your iPod or iPhone.

Note: When you make the above changes, the audiobook track(s) will be moved from the Music source list to the Audiobooks source list. If you haven’t enabled the Audiobooks list, it will seem as though your tracks have disappeared. See Optimal iTunes Import Settings for Audiobooks for more details of enabling the Audiobooks source list.

If you’re interested in more of the details of what’s new in iTunes 8, I suggest iLounge’s Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 8 as the best and most detailed guide I’ve seen.

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Free audiobooks via podcasts

by Michael Alderete on 4/16/2008 · 1 comment

The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a story about fledgling authors who get their start by publishing their books online, via podcast:

Take my book. It’s free. Giving away books as podcasts is new way to promote sales.

The basic idea is, the author reads their novel a chunk at a time, recording it, and publishing the recordings on a regular, sequential basis. A chapter a week is a common pattern. Interested listeners can download the recordings and listen to them on their computer, iPod, whatever. For free.

The best news is that iTunes can make receiving the periodic recordings totally automatic. Once you subscribe to the author’s podcast, the chapters will be downloaded automatically as published, and can even be automatically transferred to your iPod. Very slick.

The article has more details about the hows and whys, including references to the podcasts for several authors who got started podcasting, but are now professionally published, so it’s not just “hey, look at this cool technology” informative, it’s also got direct links to new authors and books for you to check out.

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Managing audiobooks on a small-capacity iPod

by Michael Alderete on 2/15/2008

Managing audiobooks on a small-capacity iPod or iPhoneManaging audiobooks on a small-capacity iPod is a new article I’ve posted in Aldo on Audiobooks, which describes some of the ways I manage what goes onto my iPod. The article is for anyone whose iTunes Library size exceeds the capacity of their iPod or iPhone, but it’s especially helpful to anyone who has a lot of audiobooks, and who wants to only have books they haven’t listened to yet on their device. Check it out, and let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

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If you follow the instructions I offer for importing audiobooks on audio or MP3 CDs into iTunes, you end up with a single album with the title of the book, that is composed of sequentially numbered tracks, which make up the chapters or discs of the book. These separate tracks are kind of painful to manage on an iPod (the iPhone and iPod Touch make it a little easier), and are definitely not aesthetically pleasing when viewed in lists in iTunes. One of the most common questions I get from readers is how to merge all of the tracks into a single file, ideally with chapter marks at the right places.

This post isn’t a thorough tutorial on how to accomplish this, merely an expansion of the existing FAQ on the subject. There are all kinds of extra details you might want to consider if you’re as anal retentive as I am about getting all those details “right.” Still, this should give you most of what you would want to know.

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Deathly Hallows not coming to iTunes Store

August 28, 2007

I’m a bit late to have stumbled across this information, but it would appear that the final novel in the Harry Potter series will not be coming to the iTunes Store: HEARING HARRY You may have the seen the avalanche of press coverage about the new “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” hardcover selling 8.3 […]

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Recommended: Sonos Digital Music System

March 20, 2007

We bought a Sonos Digital Music System back in September 2006, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. It’s a terrific product that has us listening to music far more regularly than we ever did. What’s more, it works pretty well with audiobooks that we’ve imported into iTunes or purchased from […]

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Review: Audiobook Builder 1.0

March 14, 2007

Over the course of importing dozens of audiobooks, I’ve used a variety of techniques and different tools to try to improve my workflow and the final product. And in the course of answering hundreds of reader questions, I’ve mentioned and even recommended a few of those tools. This is my first full on software review, […]

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Thoughts on “Thoughts on Music”

February 8, 2007

On Tuesday, in an open letter Thoughts on Music, Steve Jobs responded (accidentally ;-) to my prior post calling on Apple to license FairPlay to other device makers. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, as all the best propaganda is, covering a lot of ground concisely and persuasively. Other people have analysed Thoughts on Music […]

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