Audio books have been around much longer then iTunes so it’s possible you have a couple Audio books you’ve purchased and ripped onto your computer. Unfortunately these audio books won’t really work as well as the audio books purchased from the iTunes Music Store. The audio books from iTMS allow bookmarking, you can pick up where you last left off and you can set the speed of how fast the book is read.

So how do we transform the audio book that was on a CD, and then ripped onto your computer as an audio file that acts just as if you’d downloaded it from the iTunes Music Store?! Well with a couple tools, it’s pretty easy!

First you’ll need to have an audio book in your iTunes Library. I have The Chronicles of Narnia which I imported from my CD collection. Since The Chronicles of Narnia is made up of many books I’ll used Prince Caspian as an example. Now if you leave the Import settings as default in iTunes it will use the AAC codec which is what you want. If you didn’t and changed it to something else like MP3 like me, you’ll need to first convert the tracks into AAC.

Next you’ll need a couple pieces of software, these are the minimum versions of the software, just the ones I used:

Dougs Join Together v5.1 Applescript
Apple iTunes 7
ChapterTool – Download link included with Doug’s Applescript
Quicktime 7
Mac OS X 10.4

Once you have the software you can start the process. Open up iTunes and select all the tracks that made up the book Prince Caspian was about 15 or 16 chapters. Next, open up Join Together. A new window comes up and you can input information about the audio book. I left the settings as default but changed it from an .m4a file to an .m4b file. That allows you to have chapters in your book. If you do that you should also check off use Chapter Tool, that way you can input the chapter titles. Click the proceed button and it will start to work its magic.

I had 15-16 Quicktime windows open up, one for each chapter, then Quicktime proceeded to stitch together the audio tracks into one mega track. I used a PowerMac G5 2.3GHz DP with 1.5GBs RAM and it took about 30 minutes for it to work. This is where I was surprised, I didn’t think it would take this long at all. I thought it would be 5 minutes at most. I guess because of the re-encoding process it takes awhile.

When it has finished joining your tracks together you can input chapter information if you selected to do so. Unfortunately I don’t think this worked quite right because I wasn’t asked for chapter information.

My new larger audio file was automatically imported into iTunes and it was found under Audio Books and not in my normal Library. So I had accomplished what I wanted to. I didn’t get the chapters to work which isn’t a big deal, but would have been nice to have. At least it will know where I left off in case I need to stop listening. I can just hit play and my iPod or iTunes will pickup where I left off!

Here’s a couple useful audio book creating links I’ve found:
MacRumors Guides
Dougs iTunes Scripts
CDs to iTunes Audio Books

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