How can I consolidate audiobook tracks in iTunes?
I listen to a lot of audio books on my train commute into Boston, buying used CDs and ripping them into iTunes, then copying them onto my iPhone. Problem is, I can end up with 80, 90, 100 or more tracks and sometimes it's crazy how they aren't played in order, driving me insane! Not good. I have heard that there's a better way to import audio books into iTunes, something about consolidating or merging tracks, but don't know how to do it. Do you know this secret, Dave?
I don't know that it's a secret, but I too know exactly what you're talking about because I also listen to a lot of audiobooks, both on my iPhone 4 and my iPod Touch, and when I rip an unabridged audio book into iTunes, you're right, it can produce a staggering number of individual tracks, some as short as 45 seconds or less. Weird.
Fortunately, it's not too complicated to fix things up in iTunes, but you have to do so when you're importing the disk. For reasons I don't fully understand, you can't merge tracks once the files are on your computer (seems like an excellent opportunity for the creation of a third-party utility to accomplish this task, actually).
I was at the used book store yesterday and picked up a copy of Clive Cussler's "Medusa", abridged, on CD. Yeah, it's pulp, shlocky fiction, but it's entertaining and when I'm working out, it's a good listen because you can miss bits and not worry about ruining the story. :-)
Here's how I joined the tracks when I brought the audiobook into iTunes...
First step was to launch iTunes and slip the first audio CD into the player. No surprise, it was a new disk to the Gracenote CD database:
That was perfect, actually, because if you have selected "automatically rip any audio disk inserted" you need to stop it ASAP anyway. Remember, once the tracks are copied, you can't join / merge them.
I clicked on "No" to stop iTunes importing the songs, then selected all of the tracks shown to be on the disk in iTunes:
Here's the trick: select all the tracks on the disk, then choose Advanced --> Join CD Tracks:
You'll see a small vertical rule line show up in iTunes that (subtly) indicates all the tracks are going to be brought in as a single uber-track. While you're here, press Cmd-I to get to the Info window: why not fix things up before import?
As you can see, I enter artist, album, year, and "Audio Book" as genre (though later I'll switch the set of audio files to being seen as a proper audiobook in the Books area of iTunes). If you can find the cover art, it's an easy copy-and-paste step to add artwork here too: just paste it into the Artwork box.
Ready? On the bottom of this window you'll see two options:
A click on "Import CD" and you've just brought in the many short audio book tracks as one big hour long track. Very useful!
We're not done yet, though. Let's continue to tweak this so that it works optimally within the iTunes environment.
Specifically, let's go back to the Info section, but this time you'll want to be looking at the imported track that's within the iTunes library, not the CD data. I searched for "medusa" to find it. Click on it and choose File --> Get Info...
Note here that I've added the artwork for the audiobook. Thanks Google Images. :-)
Click on the 'Options' tab along the top and you'll see the key elements that'll make this a true audiobook, not just a huge music track:
To turn this into a proper audiobook to iTunes, choose "Audiobook" as the media kind, then set "Remember Position" to yes (I haven't done that yet in this screen shot) and I always mark that it should be skipped when I'm in shuffle mode because, well, it's jarring to have an audio book show up when you want to just groove on some tunes!
Save the changes, then go to the Books section in iTunes and scroll down to Audiobooks...
There ya go! A little bit of work, but it sure makes your audiobook a lot easier to enjoy!
More Useful Mac OS X Help Articles:
✔ Audacity can't find LAME library, I can't save Mp3?
Hey Dave. I read your article Audacity can't save mp3 audio files and am still puzzled because I downloaded the LAME Mp3 converter...✔ How to remove Dashboard as a "space" in Mac OS X Spaces?
I'm a big fan of the Spaces utility in Mac OS X that lets me have multiple virtual screens [see Set Up Mac...✔ Best place to buy a cheap MacBook laptop?
Hi Dave. I am looking for two gently used MacBook laptops for my teen daughters. Personal computers would greatly facilitate their studies as...✔ File too big error copying to USB flash drive on my Mac?
I'm baffled. I have a 16GB Kingston USB flash drive that I use on my Mac system and I'm trying to copy a...✔ Stealth image capture photo from webcam on my Mac?
Someone sneaks into my cubicle while I'm at lunch and takes candy out of my desk. Petty, but stupid too. I want to...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+