Audible + iPod User's Guide


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Podunk's Audible for iPod Guide

Audible content can be played on PCs or Macs. The comments below regarding iTunes apply to both platforms for the most part, and differences are pointed out where applicable.

1. Audible Basics
2. Audible File Formats
3. iPod Software for Audible
4. Importing Audible Files
5. Transferring Audible Files
6. Bookmarking-Pause/Stop-Resume
7. Audible File Navigation
8. Browse the forums for more info....

1. What is Audible? offers a wide selection of digital spoken word audio content. Audible files can be downloaded and played on computers and transferred to portable devices such as the iPod. Audible's library includes audiobooks, archives of NPR & PRI radio shows, speeches, lectures, interviews, comedy, drama & poetry, and just about any form of spoken word content.

Audible content can be purchased from or through the iTunes Music Store. For occasional listeners, titles can be purchased individually, and for frequent listeners, a variety of money saving subscription plans are available at the Audible website.

2. Audible File Formats
  • A. Enhanced playback features
  • B. Audible vs regular MP3
  • C. Audible file formats
A. Enhanced playback features
Audible utilizes a proprietary file format that includes custom features that improve the user experience over regular MP3 formats when listening to spoken word audio.

Audible files provide the ability to bookmark your playback position on each and every file stored on the iPod. You can switch between Audible files, exit and listen to music, and go back and forth and the iPod will remember your last position played and pick up where you left off. Audible files will also maintain your bookmarks when you snyc your iPod with iTunes and / or transfer additional files to your iPod.

Also, Audible files are broken up into different sections, either by timed intervals, chapters, or program segments. These segment markers allow you to quickly advance backward or forward to the next section.

With Audible's compression technology and advanced file navigation features, entire books can be stored in a single file. The entire 62 hour volume of War and Peace, for example is contained in only three Audible files.

iPod Audiobooks Menu and Variable Speed
4G and newer iPods as well as iPod Mini with current firmware provides and audiobooks menu option on the main menu to seperate books from music. A variable speed control is also available for audiobooks. Files recognized as Audiobooks will be ignored when listening to Music files in shuffle mode.

NOTE: In order for the iPod to recognize a file as an Audiobook, it MUST BE in either Audible file type (.aa) or Apple's .m4b format. It does not matter what is in the genre field says. The file format is the identifier.

B. Audible vs MP3
In contrast, if you rip audiobooks from audio CDs, every chapter or couple chapters will be contained in a separate file. So with a 6 hour abridged audiobook from CD, you are likely to end up with 30-40 separate files. The iPod will NOT remember your last played position on MP3 files.

Books ripped from CD's in MP3 format cannot be bookmarked. For more info on bookmarks, see section below.

C. Audible File Formats
Downloads from website are available in four different formats. ONLY formats 2-4 will play on the iPod. The different formats represent different audio quality and files sizes, with four being the highest quality/largest file size.
I recommend Format 4 on the iPod for highest sound quality since space is not really an issue on the iPod. Audible's Format 4 is similar to an MP3 files at 32kps. (Format 3 offers a good compromise for dial-up or where disc space is minimal).

Audible files purchased from the iTunes music store are encoded in Apple's AAC format, and provide the same enhanced playback improvements as files with .aa extension downloaded directly from

3. Software for using Audible on iPod
Audible now offers the Audible Download Manager for iTunes version 4.5 and higher. This applet streamlines the downloading and file management process. For most users, you will only need to install the iTunes Plug-In. You do not need to install AudibleManager unless you will use Audible on non-iPod devices or use AudibleManager's automatic subscription downloading feature.

NOTE: If you run the full version of AudibleManager software in addition to the Download Manager for iTunes, set the Watch Folder in AM to the same location as the iTunes Download Manager. That way, files downloaded with the iTunes Download Manager will also appear in your AudibleManager library.

The Audible Download Manager is available at

More information on using iTunes 4.5 is available here.

[*]ITunes (Mac or PC)

iTunes is used to manage and transfer files to the iPod. Once you install iTunes, AudibleManager (on PC) will only be used as a download manager for downloading Audible files. After downloading, you must import the Audible files into iTunes. (Click Add Folder in the iTunes file menu and select your Audible file folder).

Switching to iTunes (4.5 or higher) from AudibleManager
If you switch to iTunes for Windows, you will no longer need or be able to use AudibleManager to transfer to your iPod. You must use iTunes.

HOT TIP: If you have AudibleManager installed, after you install iTunes, change your device setting in AudibleManager to "NO DEVICE" This will prevent AudibleManager from trying to connect to your iPod each time you connect. The application will also launch faster and requires less system resources.

Apple has a knowledgebase article on using Audible files on your iPod.

For more details on switching to iTunes from MMJB/AudibleManager:

Notes regarding other applications.
Some third party applications also provide Audible support. However, be aware, you may run into conflicts when using multiple software applications or those other than recommended by Apple and Audible.

4. Importing Audible Files in iTunes
With Audible's Download Manager for iTunes, files downloaded from are automatically imported into iTunes and will appear in a playlist titled Audible.

Files downloaded from iTunes Music Store:
If you purchase Audible books through iTunes Music Store, your downloaded files will automatically download into your iTunes library, ready to transfer to your iPod.

5. Transferring Audible Files

Audible Files are transferred to the iPod just like MP3 or AAC music files. You can transfer files individually or create Audible playlists. Audible files can be transferred manually, or with the synch function. In either case, follow the method for transferring MP3 files to your iPod.

Help using iPod
The iPod support page from Apple is a good place to start if you are completely new to the iPod.

For complete details on using iTunes, including adding files, and transferring to iPod, Apple provides some nice tutorials at these links:

Help using iTunes:

Help using Media Center 9.0 (MC9)

6. Bookmarking-Pause/Stop-Resume

The iPod is designed to remember your last-played position in Audible files and resume at the point where you left off when you return to that file. The playback position is remembered in each Audible file you listen to. For example, you can listen to an audiobook, stop it, switch to another Audible file, play it for a while, stop it, listen to some MP3 or AAC music files, come back a week later, and the iPod will still remember where you left off in the each of your Audible files.

The last played position is also retained when you transfer additional files to or snych your iPod with iTunes.

Note on Bookmarking: The iPod does not allow the multiple, manually selected bookmarks like the Audible Otis player does. The iPod only bookmarks the playback position when a file is paused or stopped.

IMPORTANT: For Gen1 and Gen2 iPods, you must update your firmware to version 1.3 for the bookmarking feature to work.

UPDATE: Instructions on creating bookmarkable AAC files can be found here:

7. Audible File Navigation

RW-FF buttons: holding the RW or FF buttons advances the file forward or backward in five-second increments. Note that you must HOLD the button down, not just tap it.

WARNING: A single touch or the RW button will return you to the beginning of the file. When rewinding, be sure to hold the RW button until you hear the track rewinding. Better yet, I recommend using the "scrubbing" method described below to avoid accidentally touching the RW button and sending you back to the beginning of the book. Also, use the hold button during playback t avoid accidental button activation"

Rapid Advance (aka "scrubbing")
To rapidly advance to any point in your Audible file, touch the center button once. The volume bar will turn into a file navigation bar. Use the scrollwheel to rapidly advance backward of forward to any point in the file.

Section Navigation
Many Audible files are broken up into segments. The segments may be chapters, timed intervals, radio show segments, etc.
To use the section navigation feature, tap the center button once. Section indicators (when available) are indicated by vertical bars in the file navigation bar. Use the RW or FF buttons while in file navigation mode to jump from one section to the next.

NOTICE: The section navigation feature is available only on 3G iPods. 1G and 2G models operate the same as 3G with regard to FF/RW and Rapid Advance (scrubbing), but you will not see the segment markers in the navigation bar.

8. Browse or search the Audible For iPod Forum for more info.
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New member
blue_maffu_202 said:
Is there a way to take audio books on CD, rip them, and make them work like Audible files?
blue, I added a sentence to the section above to try to clarify. The short answer is no.

UPDATE: While MP3 files cannot be bookmarked, there is a method for creating bookmarkable AAC files. See the thread titled bookmarking non-Audible files.

Note that some users utilizing the AAC bookmark conversion method have observed that the bookmarks in this type of file are lost upon synching with iTunes. So far, these reports are unconfirmed but you may experience this issue.
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New member
Great FAQ for Audible users!

Just wanted to say you did a good job on the FAQ. It's concise and informative. I didn't know about the gen 3 section browsing or whether all audiobooks purchased via iTunes came as AAC. Regards.


New member
Agreed - thanks for that, didn't know about the sectioning thing either!

Loving the Audible, iPod, iTunes combo - the only downer is the 'we are not authorised to sell this title to your geographical location' message! which I singularly fail to notice until I've got myself all excited reading the description and reviews of a book :rolleyes:

Still, Audible serves the UK a whole lot better than the iTunes Music Store I guess :D


Update: Both mp3's, CD's and other files can be made bookmarkable on iPod

See Links in signature below for guides for converting CDs, MP3, and Audio Cassettes to bookmarking iPod files that stay out of main menu shuffle and allow listening in faster mode or that allow simple mp3 bookmarking without those additional attributes:

iPod Tutorial
Parannoya?s User's Guide above refers to the iPod tutorial:
Help using iTunes:
Mac the
iPod tutorial -- Be sure to visit the tutorial and be sure to look at the "movies" there. It shows screens and points out exactly where to click.

Location of Audio Files:

*You may wish to locate Audio, Music, and Picture files on an auxilliary disc (other than C:) or in a file separate from My Documents for space and back up reasons (so that when you back up My Documents you do not also back up Audio, Music and Picture Files.) Also you can position iTunes music and audio files higher in the folder heirchy for convenience. You can select an alternate location to store Audible books in iTunes at iTunes/Edit/Preferences/Advanced Tab/iTunes Music Folder Location/Change/Browse. If you move files you may need to import them into iTunes.

Using iPod as a Hard Disk and using to back up critical files
You can also set up iPod as a hard disc: iTunes/iPod/right click/options/ so that you can back up by dragging and dropping key data files to iPod (if your house burns down you are much more likely to have your iPod with you than some backup file). I.E.,
o Calendar and address/contact files
o Financial (like Quicken) back up files
o Favorites
o My Documents (See *note above about duplication of my music)
o Personal Folders on e-mail system

Using the calendar and contact functions of iPod to fullest
Check out iPodSync in download section of iPodLounge forum for a handy inexpensive software that will download Outlook (not Express) calendar, contacts, etc for viewing on your iPod display
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Importing Audible Files into iTunes

I definately find the "Add Folder" option to be the easiest method for importing Audible files into iTunes.

After you download new Audible files, just click Add Folder in iTunes, select your Audible folder and click. That's it. Your iTunes libary will be updated with whatever is in your Audible folder.

I put my iTunes folder and Audible book folder inside the "My Music Folder" so they are together and easy to find. (If you do this, you must change the default file location in AudibleManager so that your books get downloaded to the new location.)
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I have a different technique to achieve the result that Robert is looking for when he adds "Audible" to the album field in each book.

My method seems more direct, and simpler: I create a Smart Playlist, and have the playlist match "kind" that contains "Audible." All my audible files are now in a playlist entitled "Audible."

One does not need to, then, add "Audible" to the album field if one uses iTunes' smart playlist feature.
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Please reserve this thread for discussion / questions related to the Audible User Guide.

Topics of other interest can be placed in new and distinctly titled threads (which are better for search and browsing) or in the appropriate exisinting thread.



New Beginner's Guide to iPod by Jeremy Horwitz

The editors of iPodlounge would like to believe that the world is full of two types of people: iPod owners and soon-to-be iPod owners. Momentum seems to be on our side. Since the iPod community is poised to add over a million new members in the next six months, today seemed like a perfect time to publish a beginner's guide to the iPod, tailored to the needs of new and prospective iPod users. (click here)

Part I: So You Want to Buy an iPod?

Part II: Five Steps to Using Your iPod

Part III: Necessary Accessories for Typical Users

Part IV: Awesome Accessories for Power Users

Part V: From Photos to eBooks, Creating Content and Troubleshooting

Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iPodlounge and practices intellectual property law in his spare time. His recent book, Law School Insider, has been called the "best book about law school - ever," and he continues to contribute to Ziff-Davis electronic entertainment magazines.
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Re: Audible User's Guide for iPod

parannoya said:
Switching to iTunes 4.2 from AudibleManager
If you switch to iTunes for Windows, you will no longer need or be able to use AudibleManager to transfer to your iPod. You must use iTunes. You will stiill use AudibleManager for your downloads just as in the past, just not for iPod transfers.
As a new iPod and Audible user, I just want to highlight this part for people. I overlooked it and was *baffled* that AudibleManager couldn't recognize my iPod--until I realized that I was an idiot and AM didn't need to recognize my iPod, iTunes did. Don't try to set up your iPod in AM, even though it asks you to.

Another tip:

On a Windows 2000 Professional System, I was getting an error message when trying to import Audible files into iTunes: iTunes was trying to authenticate my Audible account and was returning an unspecified error (listed just as (-44013)).

It turns out the problem was that I was running iTunes under a non-administrator account, which was different than the administrator account I'd used to set up AudibleManager. Once I logged in as an administrator, I was able to get iTunes to recognize my Audible files.

Thanks for the tips, they've been helpful.


New member
Audible, authorizations, and order of installation FLUMMOXED

I hadinsstallation incompatabilities with iPod software 2.1 and the iTunes4.6 that I was using before I bought my iPod.
(4.6 iT wouldn't recognize the 2.1 Pod)
I resolved it with the 4.1 iTunes on the install disc, but
4.1 playlists did not survive the move

I have not changed iTunes or iPod software versions, given how much grief I had to get this far.

1) If I install Audible Manager, in what order do I need to install
the upgrades ( if needed) for iT and iP, and AM.

2) I am flummoxed by the authorization networks for Audible and iTunes. Let me see....
Each Itunes accounts gets five computers (or users on one counting as?) Each Pod gets 2 itunes account authorized computers.
Each Audible account gets 3 whats? (?computers?users?accounts?attempts at authorization?)
You can down load to CD once(?) in Audible but 10 times in iTunes(?audiobooks too?) but then you have to alter the playlist.

Can you get a book on iTunes you have paid for it on Audible?, or only use iTunes as the loader for the iPod, or maybe the burner or the alternative burner (with what retrictions?)
A DRM aac file is limited to the 5 authorized machines and must be downloaded from iTunes to each.?
Except when third party software does what when it is backloaded?

You may have to be an administrator or call Apple or Audible or the Dali Lama and be on hold for an hour to get things changed if you screw up authorizations

This is not useful. Several of my friends have dumped Audible after it exceeded their patience, I am getting an understanding of how needlessly complicating they made it for them.
" This stuff is designed for one machine and one pod and one user. If you stray from what we think you should want, go for it, but you may sail off the edge, Chris."


New member
You'll have to sort out your iTunes / iPod firmware yourself or from somone else, but I will answer your Audible questions.

Actually, it cannot be much simpler.

1) Install the current version of iTunes ( 4.6)and iPod software for your particular iPod.

With iTunes, you can buy Audiobooks directly from within iTunes Music store. This is the easiest way.

2) If you prefer to buy and download from, you will need to download and install the ONLY the Audible Plug-In for iTunes 4.6 from the Audible website. YOU SHOULD NOT INSTALL the FULL AUDIBLEMANAGER SOFTWARE IF YOU ALREADY USE ITUNES 4.5 OR HIGHER. Make sure the first Audible file you download will play in iTunes. Then just snyc it to your iPod. That's all there is to it. You don't have to authorize your iPod or anything.

iTunes and are two different stores, so you buy from one or the other. So no, you cannot download items you purchased from one store at the other.

iTunes and have different usage rules, listed on their respective websites. is the most liberal, since they store your files in an online library and you can download them again at any time. Other than that, they are similar and unless you are doing something really weird, the DRM is pretty invisible.
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New member
Thanks Parranoya
The incompatabilities were getting oppressive and
I was afraid of running into the authorization problems if I flubbed installs
your exchanges with robert were helpful to review
There are many reasons to keep Audible Manager open
( promotions, subsciptions, other platforms, larger library)

Now to review:
I should I upgrade to 4.5+ ( now 4.6) then pod 2.2 then AM4.0 with AMdownloadhelper for iT4.5+ in that order?
It seems to be implied that the AM should go in first

\Sorry to be so dense
Audible, Apple and I owe you big
If they don't already , Audible should spot you a subscription
out of humble gratitude
Thanks again


New member
Haha, Rich I will forward Audible your post and see if they will follow your recommendation. :)

My recommenation is iTunes 4.6 and ONLY the Audible iTunes plug-in Instead of AudibleManager. If I were you, I would ONLY install AudibleManager 4.0 if you have a second device besides the iPod, or if you really like the automated suscription download.

For me rather than use AudibleManager, I just have my preferences set in Audible (Account setting) to email me whenenver there is a new subscription in my online library. From there, you just click on the link, download the file, and it automatically goes into iTunes in a playlist callled Audible. (this is with the plug-in).

You can have both the iTunes plug-in AND install AM 4.0 and only launch AM 4.0 specifically if and when you want to use it, but I find this unnecessary, since I don't have any other non-ipod devices.

As for the order, I'm not sure it makes any difference which you install first. But if I were gonna do it, I would install iTunes 4.6, then the iTunes plug-in and make sure I got that working. Just to keep it simple.

UPDATE 1/30/05: I'm still not sure if it makes any difference in which order you install them if you run both the complete AM software, and the iTunes Download Manager, but to be on the safe side, run the ITunes Download Manager second. If you've already done the opposite and the iTunes Downloader doesn't work, just run the iTunes Download Manager setup again.

Then later add the AM 4.0 software if you think you have some need for it. You will not miss out on any promotions from Audible by having only the iTunes plug-in. You will only give up the automated downloads and non-ipod device use.

Hope thats all clear. Just buzz back if you need anything.
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Tabbed browsing w/Firefox

I'm sure a few of you will appreciate this. I've installed it and its fantastic.

Until Audible improves their website, this will at least make navigation their website more efficient. It lets you open pages in new windows/tabs. It lets you browse a lot faster because you don't have to wait to go BACK every time. And you can open the second page in a sorted list without losing the results of the first query.

fka parannoya

iPod: 15 gig 3G with 2.1 / 6G iPod Mini / Shuffle-512mb

iTunes for Win 4.6 (w/Audible Download Helper plug-in)
Computer: Win XP


New member
NY Public Library audiobooks?

does anyone know of a fix or shareware app that allows you to download NY Public Library audiobooks to a Mac based iPod?

They appear to require a windows only application called OverDrive Media Console. here's a link to the new section on the libraries website:


New member
I must be losing it. I'm scouring the Audible site looking for whatever plug-in I need to download to use Audible with iTunes 4.9 for my Mac, and all I can find is the following:

Download the Audible Otis plug-in
Download the palm OS5 plug-in
Download the Rio plug-in for Forge & Carbon

What should I be looking for here? I guess I'm just not understanding!




New member

You don't need any plug-in to download from Audible to your Mac. Downloads will just get added to your iTunes Library automatically if you check Copy Files to iTunes Music folder when adding to Library under the advanced panel of your iTunes preferences.

On PCs you can either use the Audible Manager (which predated iTunes for Windows) with its Download Helper plug-in or iTunes. The advantage to using the Audible Manager over iTunes is in burning multiple CDs for audiobooks -- the process is more automated with the Audible Manager. Assuming that you don't want to take control of start and stop times to ensure that chapters, etc. break nicely, the Audible Manager will set up all the start and stop times for each successive CD. So if you were on a PC and had the Audible Manager you'd still probably download through iTunes, but keep the option of using the Audible Manager to burn your CDs.