Converting mp3 audiobooks on Mac OS X to bookmarkable audiobooks

September 7, 2008

Update September 8th 2008 As can be read in the comments by Aldo: a better, although not free solution is Audiobook Builder

I am a member of emusic, the retailer that offers a selection of independent music and audiobooks.

One thing which always bothered me a bit was the audiobook format. They split an audiobook in dozens of mp3 files which are not the best solution if you use iTunes and an iPod.
iTunes and the iPod have the so called bookmarkable format, that is, the track will resume playing wherever you left off the last time you played it.
There is a lot of information on the net, but I could not find a step by step process for the Mac how to convert emusic audiobooks to iTunes audiobooks.

This is my procedure for Mac OS X.

  • Download two Applescripts scripts from Doug’s AppleScripts: Track Splicer and Make Bookmarkable. Install them as described.
  • Add the emusic audiobook files to iTunes. They will be stored somewhere under music.
  • Select the audiobook mp3 files. Make sure they are ordered correctly and run the Track Splicer script. This will create one big mp3 file.
    If you like to split it in a couple of 1 hour files, like an iTMS audiobook, then select a smaller number of files and repeat the procedure.
  • Select the mp3 audiobook and convert it to an aac (m4a) file with iTunes. (Right mouse: Convert Selection to AAC). Use a bitrate
    applicable for audiobooks, since 256kbps or so seems like a waste of disk space.
  • Select the aac audiobook and run the Make Bookmarkable script. This will convert the m4a file to m4b file. When you look under
    Audiobooks you will see your converted book.
  • For nicety find a cover and add it as album artwork.



Authorized trash… MacBook Logic Boards.

August 29, 2007

After my MacBook was repaired, because it was defective as described in MacBook kaput, I attached my iPod…. and was greeted by the following dialog:


Some of the items in the iTunes library…not copied… not authorized…???? Ever since the iTMS sells DRM free music I buy a lot of DRM free music (EMI) and I always made it a rule to never buy DRM’ed music….Almost. I made some exceptions: “Getting Things Done” and some children’s music. Thus this was a good reminder why DRM sucks so much. They (briefly) locked me out of music I legitimately bought and owned(?)

So I needed to Authorize Computer.. from iTunes. Hmm I don’t know, sounds a bit techie.

Apple Speaks

It just works.
How much time have you spent troubleshooting your PC? Imagine a computer designed by people who hate to waste time as much as you do. Where all the hardware and software just works, and works well together. Get a Mac and get your life back.

I think this is a different experience.

After I selected authorize, the following dialog popped up:


Ok, but what is this 3 machines thing?
Twice Apple replaced the logic board in my MacBook, so I think there are 2 broken logic boards which are authorized…

Well I read somewhere that when I get to 5, a button appears in iTunes with which I can deauthorize all computers. But that button only appears then. How’s that for context-sensitive menu items?

If this happened to a certain family member, I’m not sure if she knew what to do.

So this just hurts the experience, but more important it just feels not right that they just locked my(!) music from my computer unless I showed them that I am authorized. Compare that with the CD’s in your cabinet which you are not allowed to play, because you moved..and you need to show the receipt again.

Where is 16 Horsepower?

July 4, 2007

This morning when driving to work I wanted to listen to the latest MacCast podcast by Adam Christianson. I slided my iPod in the Dension Ice>Link selected Music>Artists and Adam was first in the list……

WTF? Some of my music is deleted!!!! Where is 16 Horsepower? or 10000 maniacs which always started annoyingly when I started the motor.

This really pissed me off, some music gone. Cannot trust my iPod or iTunes.

During the day I checked my iPod again. I’m not sure why I scrolled to the end…, but there were my missing artists. It seems that the new iTunes 7.3 changed the sort order. Why? Just for the iPhone?  It seems this confused not just me as can be read in the comments on iLounge.

Bad Apple! At least ask me.