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Topic: Adding Chapters to Audiobook files

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Old 07-25-2007, 05:49 AM
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Adding Chapters to Audiobook files

Hi,

I tried to search through this forum and web to find answer how to add chapters to audiobooks in Windows. I have downloaded YAMB and the associated MP4Box and I have managed to combine several files to one .m4b file. (as described in this forum)

I have also managed to create chapter marks with MP4Box to the resulting file. MP4Box reports the chapters correctly, both timestamp and chapter name. When I import the resulting file to iTunes, it appears correctly under the Audiobooks, but it doesn't show the chapters and when clicking 'Next' on iPod, it skips to the end of file.

Does iTunes use different method of marking chapters than the standard/mp4box does? Has anyone managed to create chapters with Windows? I have also tried the ch2ipod-tool, but it said only "beta expired".

PS. I have read the about the smart playlists (etc), so I know that from the point of listening experience, the same result can be achieved. I am just interested in generating "a perfect" solution.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:16 PM
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I found a track in doom9 discussion forum, where was comments about iTunes AudioBooks and how they are set up (http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=125941). I interpret the text so that, iTunes doesn't use MPEG-4 Chapters, but has an subtitles track, that contains the chapter information. I let you know, when I find out more.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:03 PM
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I got it figured out

What we're essentially after is an "enhanced podcast".

While googling for "how to create an enhanced podcast using windows xp", I found Slideshow Assembler.
Using this tool and editing the pod file, I was able to add the chapter marks and have it change the art to match the chapter changes. Awesomeness..... I'm stoked to run this on some of my other audiobooks....

Couple of pointers:
1. the href tags in the edit points are not needed to create chapters, it's useful for the podcasts to have itunes show a URL to click on, but doesn't really apply to audiobooks

2. the catg metadata field is set to podcast in the example as is the genre tag (notated as ęgen in the example file) Edit the catg field to "music" to keep the song/file from showing as a podcast when you import it into iTunes. You can also edit the ęgen tag to "Audiobooks" to make it easier to import the file into the audiobooks section of your library.

3. The pcst, purl and egid fields are not necessary for audiobooks.

4. Edit the file extension to m4b before importing to itunes. This combined with the genre set to "Audiobooks", should make the book appear in the audiobooks section.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-03-2007, 03:41 AM
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Thanks ejsjrnc, nice work!

I have been struggling with the mp4box and tried to create a ttxt track to contain the chapter breaks and titles. The result has been almost succesful. Only difference between my home cooked audio book/podcast to a working one (at least according to mp4box) has been the type of the track. With mp4box the track type is "text:tx3g" and the working chapter track is "text:text". I can now quit struggling with mp4box.

I tested the SSA, it it worked fine. In my test file, i don't have images for chapters, so they showed as black squares. I used mp4box to remove the empty images and then iTunes showed only the track titles. Use 'mp4box -info' to find which track "contains" the images (type "vide:jpeg", propably track #3) and then remove the track 'mp4box-rem #ID', where #ID is the image track number.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:44 PM
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Wo, ejsjrnc, thanks! I had also been mucking around with mp4box and ttxt tracks, but your solution works great! Well, mostly. Just one issue. I set the catg field to "music," and so my files aren't showing up in the Podcasts list. They aren't showing up anywhere else, either. I tried setting ęgen to "Audiobooks," and that didn't help either. They don't show up in the Audiobooks list. Or in the Music list. In fact, the only place I seem to be able to find them in my iTunes library is under Recently Added. Obviously, this is something of a problem. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
-Paul
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbee
Wo, ejsjrnc, thanks! I had also been mucking around with mp4box and ttxt tracks, but your solution works great! Well, mostly. Just one issue. I set the catg field to "music," and so my files aren't showing up in the Podcasts list. They aren't showing up anywhere else, either. I tried setting ęgen to "Audiobooks," and that didn't help either. They don't show up in the Audiobooks list. Or in the Music list. In fact, the only place I seem to be able to find them in my iTunes library is under Recently Added. Obviously, this is something of a problem. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
-Paul
You may also need to comment out the desc, pcst, purl, and egid fields in the metadata section. I commented out (put a ; in front of the line to exclude it) and ran the pod file through ssa and it worked. When I didn't comment those out, the file showed up in my podcast listing. You might want to check there.

Also, lintujuh's suggestion about using mp4box to strip out the jpg stream is a good one if you don't have any chapter pictures.

I'm working on getting a step by step process with screenshots so that everyone can benefit from it. I'll post a link to it once it's compete and hopefully we can get one of the admins to sticky it or something.

Last edited by ejsjrnc; 08-06-2007 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:43 AM
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I have thought, that I will use following steps to create my audiobooks from CDs
  1. rip the CDs with iTunes; one file/chapter (if chapter splits across two CDs, then join the pieces with mp4box/YAMB)
  2. calculate the cumulative start time of each chapter
  3. join the chapters to one file (or more, note discussions of the max audiobook length)
  4. create the .pod file and run SSA
  5. strip out the image track, if there aren't any chapter images
Any suggestions?

If ejsjrnc will create a step by step cookbook with images, that will be of great help to the others!
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:29 AM
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Calculating the cumulative start times can be quite ...
  • Create a playlist with your audiobook chapters and export the playlist as .txt file.
  • Start Microsoft Excel and import the txt file into the spreadsheet (Data > Import External Data > Import Data and select the text file). In the import wizard select delimited file (step 1) and tabs as delimters (step 2). In the third step you can ignore other colums except name and time (or delete those after import). Import chapter titles and times into Excel (columns A and B).
  • Select columns C and D (empty). Select Format > Cells and select from list Custom. Type in to the Type field h:mm:ss
  • Add into the cell C2 formula =time(0;0;B2) and copy the formula to the remaing rows/chapters. (The Time field contains the track length in seconds).
  • Add into fo the cell D2 value 0 and into to the cell D3 formula =D2+C2. Copy the formula from cell D3 to the remaining rows. Now in the D column you have cumulative start times of each chapter.
In my previous post I suggested joining the chapters split on two CDs. Actually that is not necessary, because all tracks are merged together in the last phase. When calculating the start times of each chapter, just ignore the start times of the end parts.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:08 PM
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I've posted a step by step guide with screenshots HERE

Thanks to Lintujuh for the excel knowledge. I was trying the same thing myself, but couldn't quite get the figures correct.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:44 PM
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One more question to ejsjrnc and others who have created chapters to audiobooks. Does your chapter titles show on the iPod? Mine don't.

I have enhanced podcasts that shows the chapter titles on iPod display (e.g. http://www.thefrenchecole.com/soundb...dcast/tfe4.m4a, I am trying to learn some French ), when I switch to the display where the position is shown as a diamond. It would be nice to also to see the chapter titles on iPod and not only to skip from one chapter to another.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lintujuh
One more question to ejsjrnc and others who have created chapters to audiobooks. Does your chapter titles show on the iPod? Mine don't.

I have enhanced podcasts that shows the chapter titles on iPod display (e.g. http://www.thefrenchecole.com/soundb...dcast/tfe4.m4a, I am trying to learn some French ), when I switch to the display where the position is shown as a diamond. It would be nice to also to see the chapter titles on iPod and not only to skip from one chapter to another.
I'm confused. I downloaded the file you linked to above and it has bookmarks in the file. They also show when you scrub through the file (position shown as diamond as you mentioned above.).



The chapter marks also show up for the file that I created in the tutorial here.



The only thing that I did was change the m4a extension on your french file to m4b so that it would be classified as an audiobook.

Ed
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:22 PM
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I hope this picture will explain better what I mean (1 picture = 1,000 words). The chapter breaks are shown on the iPod screen as vertical bars in both files (as in your pictures). The problem was, that when I scrub through the French lesson it shows the current chapter what the home made audio book doesn't.



PS. Sorry I pointed you to a wrong source. I have retrieved the lessons from http://feeds.feedburner.com/FrenchForBeginners. I also downloaded the file I pointed, and it didn't have the chpater titles as the other one does. So I am not surprised that you were confused.
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:31 PM
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Thumbs down oh well....

After digging around for a while, I think I found what is going on....

From Apple's podcast FAQ:

When you play an enhanced podcast on an iPod, your iPod displays the name of the chapter you're listening to above the playback position in the episode. To see this, press the Select button during play to make a diamond appear in the bar. You can then scroll the wheel right to scrub forward, or left to scrub backwards.

This is a podcast specific feature apparently. When I create a bookmarked file using Slideshow Assembler tagged as a podcast and transfer it to my iPod, it shows the chapter text when scrubbing through the file, but it does not show for the same file with the podcast tags removed from the file and transferred in as either music or an audiobook. Based on this, I'm guessing that the "chapter=" tags are not even really necessary except when you are looking at the chapter stops in iTunes.

Not sure if there will be a way to get around this simply due to the fact that the iPod treats audiobooks differently from podcasts. It would definitely be nice to see the chapter text for audiobooks also, but not completely necessary as the iPod will automatically save your place in the file.

I guess you can always encode your audiobooks as a podcast to get the chapter text to show up if you really wanted it.
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Old 11-21-2008, 03:17 PM
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check out the link

podfilecreator . appspot . com

for creating pod files to use in ssa to create audio books.
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