iTunes: Setting up iPod AudioBooks

Ever wanted audiobooks you’ve personally ripped from CDs to show up properly in your iPod? It’s frustrating to lose your bookmark after playing other music, and it’s annoying to have audiobooks mixed among your favorite tunes. After some painstaking trial and error, I’ve found a way to fix them. This procedure has been tested on iTunes for Windows (v5.0.1.4 and v6.0.1.3) and iPod Photo 30GB v1.2. As always, I am not responsible for the use or the misuse of this information; use at your own risk.

  1. Set iTunes to import using AAC encoder, optimized for Spoken Podcasts. (I normally have mine set to MP3 at 160kbps for importing music.)
  2. View the CD in iTunes, but don’t import the tracks right away.
  3. Select all the tracks on the CD, and choose Join CD Tracks from the Advanced menu.
  4. Click the Import CD icon.
  5. Find the track in your library, and do a Get Info to verify the information. It is a good idea to use a naming convention that makes it easy to choose the right audiobook and the order of the audio CDs on the iPod, i.e. “Harry Potter Year 1 Disc 7”.
  6. Through My Computer or Windows Explorer, change the extension of the song from “.m4a” to “.m4b”.
  7. Go back to iTunes and attempt to play the song. When it tells you it can’t find the song, tell it to look for it, then select the filename with the new extension.
  8. An optional step, I recommend setting the Equalizer Preset for the track to Spoken Word (found under Get Info / Options).
  9. Repeat for the rest of the CDs of the audiobook.

Once you sync up, the audiobook CDs will be properly accessible through the Audiobooks menu on the iPod! Woohoo!