Friday, July 02, 2010

Audiobooks from MP3 files

After having owned and ipod (classic, 80 gig, 5th gen) for 2+ years and listened to innumerable adverts for on "This Week in Tech" I had decided that it was time to try out and audiobook and see if the experience was any good. However, the audiobook I had with me was a simple MP3 format and I never figured out how to convert it into an audiobook till recently.

Before I jump into a step-by-step tutorial why is an 'audiobook' better than a simple 'mp3'-

  1. The audiobook files appear under a separate menu section in your ipod instead of amongst the gazillions songs in your music library.
  2. Once marked as Audiobook the ipod remembers where you stopped listening to and replays from there the next time.
  3. And for those who find the pace of the audiobook much, much slower than their reading speed- one can speed up or slow down the audiobook file. They do it in such a way that the reader doesn't seem to have ODed on helium or transmogrified into chipmunks*. On the speed note- I've also heard that there exists some research that listening to this faster version results in higher comprehension, but as I haven't had a look at that report myself I'm not sure if they did any correlation analysis with audiobook-listening-while-driving concentration.**

So, how we do that?

  1. Add the MP3 to your iTunes library
  2. Right-click on the selected track/tracks and select "Get Info" from the menu

  3. Choose the "Options" tab and set the "Media Kind" to "Audiobook" and also enable "Remember playback position" and "Skip when shuffling".

* It keeps the audio at the same pitch. It does sound slightly weird though, at least on my ipod and I couldn't get used to it especially for dramatic reading of fiction.
** Note no hyperlink- which means I heard of the study from someone over lunch and couldn't google it successfully.

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