Making Nearly Perfect Audiobooks

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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Review: Audiobook Builder 1.0

Audiobook BuilderOver 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, and I’m inspired to do so by the quality of the tool: Audiobook Builder is awesome, and at $10 it’s also a bargain.

Audiobook Builder gets my rave review for three reasons:

  1. It’s easy to use
  2. It saves a lot of time
  3. The final product is superior

The only real “problem” with it is that it is for Mac OS X only.

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New tool: Audiobook Builder

I have not yet given it a try, but a new application for Mac OS X looks like it may be even better than Join Together 5, which I recommended back in July. Audiobook Builder appears to go quite a bit beyond what Join Together is able to do, including the ability merge individual CD tracks into chapters before merging the chapters into a chapter marked whole-book track, add artwork to each chapter, etc.

My initial suspicion, based solely on looking at the screenshots, is that it may be a little complicated if your needs are simple. For myself, I usually only want to merge entire CDs into chapters, which iTunes does if you use the %(itunes)Advanced > Join Tracks% command, and then join those into a whole book, with chapter marks and full audiobook format and metadata, which Join Together does quite ably, and very simply.

In any event, I’ll be giving Audiobook Builder a try in the near future, and I’ll post a full review then, but in the meantime, I wanted to point to it, and see what other people think.