Bookmarking Non-Audible Files: Success!!

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Stensvaag

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I am a huge fan of audible.com and have listened to many books. Some spectacular books are not available from audible.com, however, and are worth obtaining from places like booksontape.com. A good example is Nelson Mandela's Autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (28 glorious hours).

I have been using a program called PolderBitS Sound Recorder to stream the audio from an audiotape player into my PC and into WAV and eventually MP3 files. It takes a bit of time to make the MP3 files, but the freedom of having complete audio-tape books on the iPod is worth it. The program is available at www.polderbits.com and I highly recommend it. (I had to pay $44, including postage both ways to get a 30-day rental of Long Walk to Freedom, but it was worth every penny. I next plan to get #### Estell reading Carl Sandburg's multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln and turn that into iPod files.)

I've learned the trick of making AAC files bookmarkable, by renaming the extent to *.M4B. It works like a charm. Unfortunately, this can only be done with AAC files, not MP3 files, as far as I can tell. To make the Long Walk to Freedom MP3 files bookmarkable, I had iTunes convert the MP3 files to AAC files and then rename them. True, I lost a little bit of audio quality in this conversion process, but in an audio book, the loss is imperceptible to me.

Here's my question: Does anyone know of a program that will take audiotape input (like polderbits) and immediately convert it to AAC files, rather than MP3 files, so that I can skip this step?

Thanks!
 
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arsolot

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Do I understand that if one changes the the .aac file extension to .m4b, then the file can be "bookmarked"? Does this mean that the book is divided into segments, or just that one's place is saved for the next time you listen to the book? What is a ".m4b" file?
 
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Stensvaag

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arsolot said:
Do I understand that if one changes the the .aac file extension to .m4b, then the file can be "bookmarked"? Does this mean that the book is divided into sections, or just that one's place is saved for the next time you listen to the book? What is a ".m4b" file?
Go here for instructions on how to achieve this "bookmark magic."

http://www.ipodlounge.com/articles_more.php?id=3233_0_8_0_C

You don't need an AppleScript if you are on a PC. Just rename your *.M4P files to *.M4B. Technically, according to the article, you need to have a space after the M4B, but when I rename these in DOS (which does't seem to let me do that) and re-add them to the library (you have to delete the old files from the library first) they become bookmarkable in the sense that they remember the place where you left off. This magic does not divide the book into sections, but resuming where you left off is a great feature.
 

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Stensvaag--

--Using Windows XP--

If I understand you correctly, all you are doing is changing the file extension from .M4P to .M4B and after this you have files that are bookmarkable.

I tried this--and indeed when my file is in itunes, it remembers where it last was when I go back to it. But--files with .m4b extensions that I've transferred to my iPod don't "bookmark".

Have you been able to get this to work with files on your iPod, or only in iTunes?

Thanks--I'd really love to have bookmarkable files on my iPod and appreciate any input in getting them that way.

dordale :)
 
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Stensvaag

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dordale said:
Stensvaag--

I tried this--and indeed when my file is in itunes, it remembers where it last was when I go back to it. But--files with .m4b extensions that I've transferred to my iPod don't "bookmark".

Have you been able to get this to work with files on your iPod, or only in iTunes?

I haven't tried playing them in iTunes itself and resuming. All of my tests have been in the iPod and, yes, each of the renamed files remembers where I left off. I am in the Win2K world, but I would be amazed if that made any different. I do have a 3G iPod, though. I wonder if you may have an older model.

The only other thing I can think of is that the original posting says that there must be a space after the M4B in the file extent. I keep trying to do that on the PC side (and have maybe been more successful than I can tell by checking the file name on the PC).

It's odd, though. If it is working in iTunes for you, I would think it would work on the iPod, as it does for me.

Have you considered trying to ask the person who originally posted the message about this Bookmark Magic?

Good luck!
 

dordale

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Stensvaag--

Thanks for the reply...It doesn't sound like the original poster knows much about doing this on the windows platform--see the discussion here: http://www.ipodlounge.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=23217

I do have a 3g iPod, although I'm still running firmware 2.01 on it. I will try updating my firmware to version 2.1 and see if this might help.

Like you, I also tried putting the space at the end of the file name ".m4b " but windows just seems to ignore it.

I'm very hopeful about getting this to work, since you're able to get it to work on your iPod.--I'll keep trying. Also, I do think it's interesting that it works perfectly in iTunes for me, but the iPod just seems to ignore the bookmarks.

I'll post back with my results.

dordale :)
 

Stensvaag

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dordale said:
Like you, I also tried putting the space at the end of the file name ".m4b " but windows just seems to ignore it.
This is almost certainly not the explanation, but are you using upper case for the file extent? I force my file name to *.M4B. That would be majorly weird if it makes a difference, but perhaps the iPod doesn't see it correctly unless it is in upper case?

Thanks for the link to the other thread. I didn't know about it!
 

dordale

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Success!!!

Thanks for your help Stensvaag!

I updated my iPod firmware to version 2.1--and now files aac files with the m4b extension are bookmarkable!! :D :D

To be truthful, I don't know if the update was necessary--after I updated my firmware, I looked at the files on my iPod, and both versions of my test files were there (the original mp3 files and the newly converted m4b files). Prior to updating, I *know* I deleted the files from the Ipod and I could no longer see them when I accessed my iPod through iTunes. But, after I updated, and looked at the contents on my iPod, it listed both file versions, so apparently the original delete didn't quite take. I really don't know if I was playing the old mp3 files when I was testing my iPod or the new m4b files.

I redeleted the mp3 files--noticing increased memory space on the iPod, so now knew they were indeed deleted. The new m4b files bookmark just like audible files.

BTW, I am using lower case for the mb4 extension, so apparently it doesn't matter whether that's upper or lower case.

I am a happy camper :)
dordale
 
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Stensvaag

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dordale said:
Success!!!

I looked at the files on my iPod, and both versions of my test files were there (the original mp3 files and the newly converted m4b files). Prior to updating, I *know* I deleted the files from the Ipod and I could no longer see them when I accessed my iPod through iTunes. But, after I updated, and looked at the contents on my iPod, it listed both file versions, so apparently the original delete didn't quite take. I really don't know if I was playing the old mp3 files when I was testing my iPod or the new m4b files.

I redeleted the mp3 files--noticing increased memory space on the iPod, so now knew they were indeed deleted. The new m4b files bookmark just like audible files.
Terrific! I hope that many readers will stumble across this thread and learn from our examples that it IS now possible to have bookmarkable AAC files on Win-based iPods. I agree that it is confusing keeping track of which version is which, once you do this file renaming stuff. It is a good idea to delete the files from the Library (watching the total free space go up to confirm actual deletion) and to re-add the correct files to the Library.

Happy iPoding to you . . .
 

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Dummy

__________________________________________________
Edit 5-25-04. For a vastly improved solution go to

Complete Beginner?s Guide for Copying Audio CD?s into a Bookmarking iTunes/iPod file


I vastly pefer this solution which avoids the MP3 merge and the time consuming, computer hogging AAC conversion. This alternative solution creates a bookmarkable file for each cd, and uses a Smartlist and numbering convention to flow smoothy and automatically from one cd file to the next, removing listened-to files from the smart list.

Many thanks to the help of members of this forum.

__________________________________________________

Rips, copies, or creates a complete audio book set of CD?s into a single ?song? (file, book) which retains bookmarks in iTunes and on iPod.

Warning: bookmark in these files is lost when you sync your iPod with iTunes. Before sync or auto sync, note audio book time elasped on iPod. After synch, tap center of iPod wheel until time bar appears. Spin wheel rapidly either direction to get to time previously noted. When unused, leave iPod plugged into either computer or charger to avoid > 24 hour bookmark loss.

Use this process only to copy CD?s in your possession that you own or have on loan from a library.

The Following step-by-step 5-23-04 extensive post update reflects subsequent suggestions. Particular thanks to Stensvaag (for original conversion concept, lots of help, and graying out solution), gshipley (for mp3 merge freeware) and GearHead (for vastly simplified single-step join cd tracks before ripping):
_______________________________________________

I. Rip or copy the audio CD?s into iTunes into a single mp3 file for each CD. Many thanks to GearHead for simplified and unified solution
1. Open iTunes, and Click on the top menu Edit > Preferences and click on the "Importing" Tab and select ?mp3 encoding?
2. Insert CD>and, in iTunes Source Column, click on Audio CD to display the CD tracks. Alternatively, click on ?use iTunes to import? it that window appears. CD will not appear instantaneously in iTunes Source column.
3. Highlight all the tracks of the CD. (Click on first track, then hold shift while clicking on the last track).
4. Right click highlighted tracks, click yes to change all, Right Click>select ?Get Info.? In resulting window: validate or type in ?Artist? (Author), ?Album? (Book Name), ?Genre? (Audiobook), and ?Disc? (Disc X of Y -- checking ?OF?). Update the disc number for subsequent CD?s). Do not check ?part of compilation.? Disc identification is crucial for subsequent sorting and identification. ?
5. With all tracks still highlighted, click on ?Advanced?>Join Tracks. Result should be a single bracket around all the tracks, a checked square to left of bracket on first track line. If ?Join Tracks? is grayed out: 1. All tracks must be selected/highlighted (see 3 above) and/or 2. click on left-most column until re-ordered into 1, 2, 3, etc., sequence -- even if tracks are already in sequence. Many thanks to Stensvaag for grayed-out solution ! If you forget to join tracks do it over, checking replace.
6. Click on ?Import? button (upper right of window). Upon completion of import, the individual CD?s will be in iTunes Library. Click Date Added column until you see at top.
Repeat steps 2-6 for each CD of the book.
==================================================
General Information Which May be Helpful

One-time, download the freeware MP3 Merger. [Required only if you want one iTunes/iPod file for the book.] Special thanks to gshipley for introducing this freeware to the forum.

1. Open http://mp3merge.netfirms.com/ and click on Download MP3 Merger link
2. Open the file (or save it to your computer)
3. Somewhere in this down load process is the option to put Download MP3 Merger on your desktop. Do it so that it is easily found.
To locate a newly created file in iTunes
In iTunes Click on Library in Source, click on Browse button upper right, until Genre/Artist/Album do not show above song listing. Click on ?date added? column heading to sort it until latest date is first and file is on top of list. It may be necessary to Left click on Date Added column a few times to get newly added file on top.
***Locating iTunes Folder or files
Default is C:\Documents and Settings\Default\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Book Name or Author name and not necessarily in alphabetical order.
Go to iTunes/Edit/Preferences/Advanced Tab/iTunes Music Folder to determine or verify the location of your iTunes Music Folder location.
It may be necessary to click a couple of times on date added column heading in iTunes to get a newly created file to show up.
An erroneously deleted file may be restored from recycle bin with a right click/restore.
To add/remove a needed/no-longer-needed column in iTunes listings
Right Click on any column heading/click on checked item to remove column, click on unchecked items to add that column. Successive Clicking on any column heading will sort that column.
Time management ? plan to optimize your use of time during this process
Ripping CD?s, Section I, requires only occasional insertion of CD?s and validating information. This can easily be done while you are doing other things on your computer ? listening to the book or engaging in other computer tasks. However, the conversion to AAC files, Section III, will engage a lot of computer resources for ten minutes+ per CD -- perhaps plan to leave your computer converting to AAC while you sleep or eat.
--
Alternatively, eliminate AAC conversion step by ripping joined tracks AAC Encoder and create one iPod iTunes file for each audio CD. (Before ripping, in iTunes, click on the top menu Edit > Preferences and click on the "Importing" Tab and select ?AAC Encoder? and generally follow this set of instructions, skipping merging step II with no need for the freeware.
--

==================================================

II. Using MP3 Merger Freeware, merge all the CD?s (the entire audio book) that you have ripped/copied into a new, single mp3 file.
1. Open MP3 Merger freeware by clicking its icon on desktop. If you have only one CD or if you do not mind having a file for each CD, you can skip this step and go directly to III.
2. Click on ?Add Files? button
3. In Window that opens, browse to your iTunes Music Folder*** (see above)
4. Highlight the first nine of the mp3 files (each of the first 9 CD?s) you have ripped into iTunes (highlight first file, holding down shift, click on last file.)
5. For CD audio books with 9 or less CD?s, Click ?Open? at bottom of the select window to add all of the CD?s to MP3 Merger window
a. Click ?Sort List? button of MP3Merger. The files must be in proper sequence from top to bottom -? 1-5, 2-5, 3-5, etc.
b. Skip Step 6
6. For CD audio books with 10 or more CD?s (It may be easier to split books into numbered parts consisting of not more than 9 CD?s):
a. Add CD?s 1-9 altogether as a group (Step 5), then sort them
b. Add CD?s 10+, in order, one at a time.
7. After adding files to MP3 Merger list, Key in Artist (author), Title (Book Name), and Album (Book Name)
8. For ease of finding the file later, insert (key in) ?Book Name? in front of output.mp3 in Output File Name box.
9. Click ?Merge Files? button. This will create a new file called ?Book Name output.mp3,? or ?Book Name Part 1.mp3, in the same folder with the original CD files (iTunes Music Folder*** above). If files names differ even slightly, check ?Tolerate errors in MPEG headers before merging.? You now have both the merged file and individual original mp3 files, so that you temporarily have twice the size of the book on your hard disc.

III. Locate and Convert the merged mp3 file to AAC (Special Thanks to Stensvaag for the breakthrough)
1. So that ?Book Name output.mp3? (which has no genre), will show in iTunes, click on Browse in upper right corner until Genre, Artist, and Album no longer show.
2. Click on File/Add File to Library/
3. Window named ?Add to Library? containing ?Book Name output.mp3? file should appear. Highlight it and click on ?Open? button. If Book Name output.mp3 file does not appear in Add to Library Window, browse to the location of your iTunes files*** and look for ?Book Name output.mp3? file under Author?s name in un-alphabetized listing. Highlight it and click on Open.
4. In iTunes, Click on the top menu Edit > Preferences and click on the "Importing" Tab and select ?AAC Encoder?
5. Once in iTunes Library, highlight ?Book Name output.mp3? file. Right Click it, click ?Convert Selection to AAC.?
6. The conversion of a typical length book will take about an hour and a half and will use 95%+ of your cpu. Do not interrupt this process. You can return to progress indication in the center top window of iTunes by clicking on the > of that window.
IV. Rename the file, delete temporary files, and drag Book Name.m4b file to iTunes Library
1. After the conversion is complete, right click on the ?Output? file in iTunes Library and Select ?Show Songs File? In the resulting window:
2. Right click the ?output.m4a? file and select ?rename?
3. Key in rename to ?BookName.m4b ? (Space after b to be safe) See David's 4-22-04 solution posted in this thread if you can't see the extension name. Do not close this window until steps 4 & 5 are completed.
4. Highlight and delete all temporary *.mp3 files (one for each CD) visible in the Show Songs File Window, taking care not to delete the new *.m4b file.
5. Highlight and drag the ?Bookname.m4b? file from the ?Show Songs File window? to Library in Source Column of iTunes. Or, use iTunes File/Add File to Library
6. Highlight Bookname.m4b file in iTunes (see *** above), right click/Get Info -- add/change Name (Book Name) and Artist (Author) genre (Audiobook) as necessary.
7. Clear all temporary files from iTunes. Right click> Clear
8. Connect iPod to computer and use iTunes to drag and drop the newly created bookmarkable file from Library to iPod.
9. Optional:Change the importing back to mp3. (In iTunes, click on the top menu Edit > Preferences and click on the "Importing." Tab. At the ?Import Using? of the Importing Tab, drop down select ?mp3 encoding.?
 
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Stensvaag

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Bookmarking Non-Audible Files: Step-by-Step Instructions

robert said:
Would this work with a Audio Book CD? I am guessing not. However,

If so, could you spell out the steps. The thread is a little difficult for us non-technical types to follow.

This is neat.
Yes, absolutely. It does work with an Audio Book CD. Let's assume that you are starting with Audio CD #1 of the book "Da Vinci Code."

Step 1. Use iTunes to: (A) join all of the tracks on the Audio Book CD (so that you don't have a whole bunch of 5 minute files); (B) and convert the Audio CD tracks (now joined into a single track) to AAC.

Step 2. Find the resulting file that was created by Step 1 by displaying the "Date Added" column in iTunes. (Do Edit > View Options and check the item "Date Added"). If you then sort in reverse order by date added, your brand new file will be at the very top of the list.

Step 3. Fill in all the tags (fields) that you want on the file. I use short things for the "Song" or Track name like "Da Vinci 01"

Step 4. "Clear" the resulting file from the iTunes library (be careful not to actually delete it from your hard drive; when you are prompted and asked whether you want to send the file to your recycle bin, say "no"). You need to do this, because otherwise, Step 6 won't work (you'll have multiple copies of the same file in your iTunes library and you'll be confused).

Step 5. Find the AAC file that was created during the conversion process and use any Windows file utility like Windows Explorer to rename the file from *.m4p to *.M4B.

Step 6. Add the now newly renamed file to the iTunes library. You're done. The file, when played in iTunes or on the iPod will remember each time where you left off.

Repeat this for each of the Audio CDs, naming the (joined) tracks for each CD "Da Vinci 01" "Da Vinci 02" and so forth.

I wish the moderator could make this a sticky note, because it could be valuable for others who want to listen to Audio Book CDs on their iPods.

===========
Addendum: I just found an easier way to rename the AAC file. If you right-click on the "Song" (i.e., the AAC file) in iTunes, and select "Show Song File" you will be taken to a window in which you can rename the file extent to *.M4B. Then when you return to iTunes, and highlight the "Song" again, you will be warned with words that go something like: "Cannot find the file. Would you like to find it?" Answer "yes" and then navigate to the place where the renamed file is, selecting it.
 
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dordale

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Stensvaag--

I agree this is important information to audio book lovers--

Maybe you should start a new thread with an appropriate title like "bookmarking non-audible files" and outline your steps. That way, interested people would be more likely to find the information. Hopefully the moderator would then be able to make it a sticky.

dordale :)
 

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Is it not possible to use Itunes to record from a tape?

Just a quick question, as I have several Book on Audio Tape. Can I use ITunes to copy them to MP3, or do I need the program mentioned in the first post of this thread? Thanks for starting this thread!

AmethystA
 

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Re: Is it not possible to use Itunes to record from a tape?

AmethystA said:
Just a quick question, as I have several Book on Audio Tape. Can I use ITunes to copy them to MP3, or do I need the program mentioned in the first post of this thread? Thanks for starting this thread!

AmethystA
If there is an option to do so with iTunes, I haven't been able to find it.

By the way, I have learned (the hard way) that PolderBitS Sound Recorder needs to have the option set to "Line-In" (only) to avoid having the audio file contaminated with all kinds of computer noises, like "You've Got Mail!"
 

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This is a very handy technique, especially for dealing with audibooks that you may already have on CD (or tape) instead of Audible files.

Lets leave this one unsticky and see where it falls in the "natural selection" of things.

P
 

gshipley

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2G iPod

Just in case anyone is wondering, I tested this on my 2nd Gen 20gb iPod and it works great.

I am running 1.3 firmware and its a windows formatted iPod.

Also, I tired using a few freeware mp3 -> aac converters on Windows XP and it did not work.

I also tried sending the file to the iPod using ephpod 2.50, 2.60, and 2.78. None of those worked.

So it appears you have to convert the mp3 file to aac using iTunes.


Anyway, I just want to thank everyone for this tip. I only listen to audiobooks on my iPod and its a big pain to hit pause and not listen to anything else in order to preserve my place. It has been my dream feature for the iPod to bookmark mp3 books and now I have it! (With a littel work on my end)

Now all we need to do is set up a place to share our converted audio books in .M4B format. :) Only to save everyone who LEGALLY owns the books the trouble of joining files and converting and renaming etc.



Grant
 

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Joining Tracks, first step

__________________________________________________
Edit 5-25-04. For a vastly improved solution go to

Complete Beginner?s Guide for Copying Audio CD?s into a Bookmarking iTunes/iPod file


The above avoids the MP3 merge, the very time consuming and computer hogging AAC conversion, and solves the file managment problem with a Smartlist solution. I vastly pefer the easier new solution. Many thanks to the help of members of this forum.

__________________________________________________


Stensvaag said:
Yes, absolutely. It does work with an Audio Book CD. Let's assume that you are starting with Audio CD #1 of the book "Da Vinci Code."

Step 1. Use iTunes to: (A) join all of the tracks on the Audio Book CD (so that you don't have a whole bunch of 5 minute files);
Edit: The solution to this problem and a complete step by step set of instructions is at my March 24 (and edited into an earlier) post in this thread: How to rip a complete audio book of CD's into one Bookmarkable File on PC

First dumb question. How do you join tracks? Under Advanced, Join Tracks is greyed out under any scenario I can think of to try. I find a post elsewhere [ITunes 4: Join Tracks command is dimmed (click here) ]that says tracks can only be joined at the time the cd is ripped, and that 'tracks' must be the sort. However, Advanced drop down "join tracks" is greyed out when doing this.

Help, please

Edit 5-23-04

Stensvaag said:
The only time "Join Tracks" has been grayed out for me has been when the CD tracks are "sorted" within iTunes by something OTHER than the first column (i.e., the one to the left of "Song Name"). Every time I ran into the grayed-out phenomenon, it drove me nuts until I figured this simple trick out. Hope it helps!
If ?Join Tracks? is grayed out: 1. All tracks must be selected/highlighted (see 3 above) and/or 2. click on left-most column until re-ordered into 1, 2, 3, etc., sequence -- even if tracks are already in sequence. Many thanks to Stensvaag for grayed-out solution !
 
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Stensvaag

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Re: Joining Tracks, first step

robert said:
First dumb question. How do you join tracks? Under Advanced, Join Tracks is greyed out under any scenario I can think of to try. I find a post elsewhere that says tracks can only be joined at the time the cd is ripped, and that 'tracks' must be the sort. However, Advanced drop down "join tracks" is greyed out when doing this.

Help, please.
I hope I don't sound like a dope, but have you selected (highlighted) all of the tracks that you would like to have joined? If you haven't selected multiple tracks, you can't join them (that option will be greyed out). And they must be directly adjacent tracks (I'm assuming). That's why (I would guess) you need to have the CD sorted by "tracks."

Hope this silly suggestion does the trick!
 

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Join tracks

I also get greyed out "Join Tracks" in iTunes. I remember it working once......


I just use a freeware program to do it and it works great!

http://mp3merge.netfirms.com/

I have been using it for a while now.

Grant
 

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Re: Join tracks -- This is driving me crazy

EDIT
Grayed out can be solved by
1. Highlighting all the tracks and/or
2. Clicking on the leftmost untitled column even if tracks are in order.

gshipley said:
I also get greyed out "Join Tracks" in iTunes. I remember it working once......


I just use a freeware program to do it and it works great!

http://mp3merge.netfirms.com/

I have been using it for a while now.

Grant
I am feeling very stupid and frustrated right now. Still greyed out on join CD tracks. However, The freeware above will combine all the MP3 -- and only MP3, not AAC -- tracks of a cd into one "output" file which can be renamed. It will not merge cd tracks of an AAC encoder import. iTunes/edit/preferences/importing/ and selecting MP3 Encoder allows one to merge all the cd tracks into one, and I suppose if I had imported all 8 CD's of the book that I could have merged all the tracks of all 8 CD's into one file (would really be nice to have the book all in one file if this worked). The resulting combined file appears as AAC (protected) file.
I can change the extension to M4B, but: A. Using right click on the renamed file to request a conversion to AAC, the file refuses to convert because "of an authorization error." B. This file will also not play.

File/import doesn't work, because its window accomodates only a .txt, .sml, or a .m3u file extension.

Step 1(A) and (B) above cannot be followed, since the freeware will not merge AAC format files. I can get individual tracks converted, but that would be something approaching 100 files for the book CD I am trying to put on my iPod.

.Edit: The solution to this problem and a complete step by step set of instructions is at my March 24 post in this thread: How to rip a complete audio book of CD's into one Bookmarkable File on PC

If we could use the freeware to merge all the tracks of all the cd's into one file, and then convert to AAC and change the extension to M4B, it would be a dream come true. iPod is so much more convenient than a cd player and there are some titles available on CD that are not at Audible.com.

I have searched and visited other threads in the forum that discuss these issues, and don't see a solution there:

!Join CD Tracks

iTunes 4 - Join CD Tracks greyed out

Converting MP3->AA and AA->MP3

arrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh! This is costing me valuable reading time.Edit: The solution to this problem and a complete step by step set of instructions is at my March 24 post in this thread: How to rip a complete audio book of CD's into one Bookmarkable File on PC
 
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