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This last week the MacGroup iBBS saw a lot of discussion regarding transferring audio books from CD to iPods. I’ve been a fan of audio books for a long time now, back to when we listened to them on casette tapes. Remember casette tapes? 

Now, most of my audio books are purchase through my Audible account, but between the public library and CDs purchased at used book stores, I still find myself converting CDs to audio files to transfer to my various iPods. To make it easier, I’ve been using a great $6.95 piece of software from called Audiobook Builder. Using it couldn’t be easier. Set it up, start feeding in the CDs, decide how big you want the files to be, then let it rip. Oh, and you can set the preferences to automatically store the finished files in your iTunes library.

Start a new project and you are presented with a screen to enter title, author, genre and cover design.

Click on Chapters, then feed the first CD in. It will give you the option of importing each track individually or as one continuous CD. When it’s been imported, it will ask for the next disk, or click on No More CDs after the last one.


When the last CD has been imported, click on Finish, then on Build Options, where you can set target length of tracks and how you want them encoded. Normal quality and AAC (Bookmarkable) have been my choice. They give good audio quality and small file sizes. Click on Build Audiobook and let it do it’s thing, then go to iTunes, select the files and create a new playlist for your book.

Now, for my gripe with audio books on iPods — while the iPod will remember where you were listening on a specific track, you can’t tell which track if you’ve listened to something else since the last time you listened to the book. Start a book, stop to listen to music, go back to the book, huh? While iTunes indicates which tracks you’ve listened to, the iPods don’t do it. If you are using an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, help has come to the rescue in the form of the free Audible app. 

The Audible app has been out for a while, but they recently added the ability to use it to listen to audio books from other sources that are in your iPod library. The advantage to using it? You can see where you left off, you can add bookmarks (think iBooks and Kindle apps), and there is even a sleep timer for those of us who tend to fall asleep with headphones on. Set it for 30 minutes, and if it puts you to sleep, it’s easy to backtrack to the last thing you member hearing.



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6 Responses to Audiobook Builder

  1. Eric Granata says:

    Audiobook Builder looks to be a great value! You might be interested in another iPhone app for audiobook fans called Audio Footnote. It lets you record voice notes (and soon text notes) while listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Notes are saved and sorted by what you were listening to, where in the program you were and the date. Check it out at

    P.S. It’s my app;-)

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks for highlighting this! I just bought my copy. Now I’m off to clean up my library…

  3. DJ says:

    Hands down so worth the money. Great Application!!

  4. Steven Klein says:

    Phyllis: Why can’t you simply combine them all into a single file?

    The app I mentioned before, Join Together, can combine everything into a single file. The only limitation is that the playing time can’t exceed 12 hours per file, so some books need to be split into two files.

    Join Together is free, and fits my needs. But after reading your blog entry and seeing the windows, I must say I find the UI Audiobook Builder far superior.

    If you’re interested, perhaps I’ll do a write-up, with window captures, of Join Together?

  5. Phyllis Evans says:

    Steve, no reason why you can’t combine them into a single file. I just try to keep ripped files to about the same length as Audible files. And while I’ve used a few applescripts over the years, Audiobook Builder just seems to make it easier and cleaner.

    With the early HD-based iPods, there were problems with long tracks. If I remember correctly, they tended to really eat up battery charges, but I vaguely remember long tracks causing stutter problems, too.

  6. Eric Granata says:

    Another benefit to something like Audiobook Builder is that, being paid software, you can expect some level of support and further improvements to be available. Not to mention the friendly UI,

    I’ve also found some handy Apple Scripts for wrangling my media at