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 Splasm.com 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.