Quick Mac how-to: Audiobook CDs to Bookmarkable AAC


javabird

New member
I see so many repeated questions from Mac users about how to make bookmarkable files from CD's, I thought it would help to post these "quick & dirty" instructions. The in-depth audiobook instructions elsewhere on this forum are very good, but geared to PC users--read those for more details. (This is based on what works for me on 2 different Macs with iTunes 6.01 and Mac OS 10.4.4, so others may have different results.) I hope some will find this helpful.

The first method costs $ but allows the files to show in the Audiobook section of iTunes. (This is the easiest & most foolproof way I've found.) The 2nd method makes files bookmarkable, but they may not be listed under Audiobooks (yes, even though they are m4b).

Method 1: Using Join Together script

You need Quicktime Pro upgrade ($30), the Join Together script, and the
Chapter Tool

In Preferences go to Advanced > Importing
Import Using: AAC Encoder
Setting: Spoken Podcast
Uncheck "Use error correction when reading Audio CD’s"

Insert CD
Make sure the Artist & Album are identical in all the tracks
Uncheck "Part of compilation"
Click the “Import” button

Make a Smart Playlist to put all the tracks for that book in one folder
Highlight all the tracks you want to join
Select the “Join Together and Chapterize” script
When prompted, choose these options:

Pass-through
.m4b
Chapterize

Method 2: You need the Make Bookmarkable script

Set the Preferences as in Method 1.
Insert CD
Make sure the Artist & Album are identical in all the tracks
Uncheck "Part of compilation"
Select Advanced > Join CD tracks

Click the “Import” button
Make a Smart Playlist to put all the tracks for that book in one folder.
Highlight the tracks and select the Make Bookmarkable script.
 

javabird

New member
You're welcome.

After experimenting, I've also found that if you use the "Join and Chapterize" script, you do not need to select Chapterize for the files to appear in the Audiobooks category (But you do need to select "m4b"). This only works with the "Join & Chapterize" script, but not with the "Make Bookmarkable" script. Not sure why.

I haven't upgraded to iTunes 6.03 yet, so maybe other Mac users can give feedback on 6.03 if their experiences are different.
 

javabird

New member
New version of Join Together script

Dougscripts has posted a new version of
Join Together that doesn't require QuickTime Pro (you only need QT Player 7). Another cool feature: join CD tracks and import as one file.
 

moriond

New member
Very nice! From the readme file it looks as though this script can also handle joins at different bit rates, although optimally, using the same bit rate is recommended and much faster. Also, the alert if your total (joined) time is over 12 hours seems geared to files at 44.1 kHz sampling (CD quality, used for music) rather QuickTime's max if you use 22.050 kHz for voice sampling (audiobooks and podcasts). (This is the maximum that QuickTime's encoding allows). The other nice thing about this version is that it can be used by folks using Panther (10.3.9), since you don't need to use Tiger's Spotlight feature to estimate times for the chapterize portion.

Incidentally, there's a new version of iTunesJoin (April 14, 2006) from 3am Coffee Company, as well. This also allows joining protected content from the iTMS if it is done as a straight join (i.e., no conversions to lossless or different formats, must have same bit rate). Audio or video from iTMS gets joined into a QuickTime movie, and under iTune 6 these files appear as video files (although only audio tracks will play in the case of joined iTMS music files).
 

moriond

New member
Re: New version of Join Together script with cool features

javabird said:
New version of Join Together no longer requires Quicktime Pro (only requires QT Player). More cool features include joining CD tracks to import as one file.
It's probably worth pointing out for Audiobook users that the Chapterize function, at least using the ChapterTool beta employed by this AppleScript, has a maximum file size of 500 MB. Just in case there are people who are trying to put all their longer Harry Potter books into a single chapterized file with this and wondering why things fail. This information isn't in the Read Me for the AppleScript, but comes from the Read Me for iTunesJoin -- a similar shareware product for joining and converting audio and video files for the Mac.

From the iTunesJoin Read Me on using the application with ChapterTool:
Limitations: ChapterTool only works with AAC files. ChapterTool only works with files under 500MB in size (a little more than 9 hours at 128 kbps).
Note that this is about 18 hours at the podcast (64 kbps stereo) setting, and whether you have mono or stereo encoding also affects the time-file size conversion. These limits are only maxima for what the programs will handle -- there's nothing that states that files this large will play back well (without skipping or locking up) on your iPod! (4G iPod users may need to use stereo encoding for AAC audiobooks and podcasts to avoid the "mono lockup bug" and freezeups when playing back on their iPods). Also, the Chapterizing functions now seem to be built into Garageband 3 for folks creating new podcasts on the Mac, but that application might not have the same file size limitation as the ChapterTool beta.
 
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Petol

New member
Need a little help again!

Ever since I purchased QuickTime Pro I've had great luck in making books from CD's for my ipod (on my Mac). Last weekend I had a message to download updates for my Mac including a update for Quick Time Pro. Well, now it seems that I can't "join & chapterize" my books. When I have my books all imported and in AAC format, I usually just go to the top of my Itunes and click on the icon for Quick Time, am asked if I want to join and chapterize, pass through and and hit .m4b. Now, that doesn't work. I'm asked all the correct question..join, chapterize, pass through and .m4b, and it looks like its working (all the cute little files come up), but I never get the finished product..the files I want joined together. I've checked my preferences in Itunes (looks correct to me!)...so I'm thinking it might be something in Quick Time. I called apple and they were stumped, so now I'm turning to you guys. When I originally used Quick time Pro, I don't remember changing any settings in the program itself but maybe the update did something. I now using Ver. 7.1.0, and I have no idea what version I upgraded from. Its only 3 or 4 months old.
Any ideas or help would be appreciated.
Thanks
Petol
 

Petol

New member
Well Duh!
I think I found the answer to the problem at Doug's scripts. Guess the new version of QT 7.1 might break something. Just need to download Doug's new Join Together.
Right?
Petol
 

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