How to Convert Audiobook CDs to Digital Files Using iTunes

This tutorial is for informational purposes. Please respect the copy right holder by buying or using legal means to utilize all such works. Authors & publishers have worked to make these books, they should get what they earn. Thank you.

What You Need:

What you need to convert an audiobook CD to a digital file you can use for an mp3 player (such as an iPod), a smart device (such as an Android phone or tablet, or an iPhone or iPad), or even for a computer (such as a PC or Mac) are as follows:

What You Need:
Description:
 
Computer with CD or DVD Drive
Must be able to install iTunes
 
Audiobook CDs
n/a
 
Time
Depends on the length of book.
 
Email is option. You can just download without entering it.
Email is option. You can just download without entering it.

Step One: Install iTunes

If you do not already have iTunes installed on your computer, please do so. Go to this link to get the free software. There is no need for you to include your email unless you want updates (e.g. spam) from Apple.

The instillation process of iTunes can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on what your computer system's capabilities are. Please be sure to look at the device specifications listed on the iTunes download webpage (see link) to see if your computer is able to handle it. Most can, but it is always good to check.

I get most of my audiobook CDs from

  • Mom & Pop Bookstores
  • Truck Stops
  • By borrowing them from Libraries
  • Big Box Stores (like Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, etc.)
  • It was a present. How to I know?
See results without voting

Now the CDs

The time to do this is really dependent on the length of the audiobook & how quickly you can switch discs from the computer. Using my computer I have scanned a 5 disc book in about 15 minutes, but it will depend on the computers age and how quickly you switch discs.

Many people good books from many places. I would ask that where ever you get your books from, please respect the copy write holders rights. The authors, the publishers, the sound engineers, and the readers all spent time to make the books. Please support them so they can continue making these wonderful pieces of art.

For example. If you borrow your audiobooks from your local library, be sure to delete the files once you are finished listening. If you wish to have it to listen to again later, there are many legal means to get the audiobooks while not spending too much money. Audible.com is one such example. Buying used CDs is another.

Tutorial 1: Scanning the Discs

By following this tutorial you will get one file per disc. This is a good thing. It makes it easier for you to navigate the book and prevents issues with playback in the book. One example of such issues is skipping all over the book because the mp3 player could not tell which track is in which order. Also, this tutorial will show you how to make the file remember its position in the book so you can come back to it at anytime without having to search for your place.

To follow the first tutorial, please refer to the pictures below and follow the captioned directions. Click each additional photo to go to the next step in the tutorial. Once you have completed the first tutorial, the second will show you how to convert files into different formats in case you want to use them on a device that does not use Apple's AAC file. If you know your device does not support that format, skip to the next tutorial, then come back to this one.

Tutorial 1

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1: When you put the CD in, iTunes will ask you if you want to import the CD. Click "No"Step 2: Next you will high light the first track of the CD by clicking it.Step 3: Then you will press the shift button and click the bottom track of the CD at the same time. This will highlight all tracks.Step 4: Then you will go to the options menu on the top right corner of the iTunes ribbon. Click "Join Tracks".Step 5: Once you have done this the tracks should be joined by a bracket.Step 6: Now right click any one of the tracks and click "Create AAC Version". (If you want to do a different file type, please see Tutorial 2 below.)Step 7: Once the disc has scanned, right click the file and select "Get Info". These next steps are how you get the audiobook to remember position.Step 8: Under the "Info" section, if the title doesn't already have a number indicator, change the name. Also make sure that the artist, composer, & album match up so that there is no problems with the files being grouped together. Step 9: Under the "Options" section, in the "Media Kind" drop down, select Audiobook (this will group it in Audiobooks in most devices automatically). Then check the boxes "Remember playback position", and "Skip when shuffling". Then click "OK".Step 10: The file will disappear from the music part of the library. On the top left corner, click the library selector, it will be on "Music" by default, and select "Books" instead.Step 11: If you follow these steps, you should have a icon like each of these for each book. If you have multiple icons for one book, go back to Step 8 and make sure all the information matches for each file.
Step 1: When you put the CD in, iTunes will ask you if you want to import the CD. Click "No"
Step 1: When you put the CD in, iTunes will ask you if you want to import the CD. Click "No"
Step 2: Next you will high light the first track of the CD by clicking it.
Step 2: Next you will high light the first track of the CD by clicking it.
Step 3: Then you will press the shift button and click the bottom track of the CD at the same time. This will highlight all tracks.
Step 3: Then you will press the shift button and click the bottom track of the CD at the same time. This will highlight all tracks.
Step 4: Then you will go to the options menu on the top right corner of the iTunes ribbon. Click "Join Tracks".
Step 4: Then you will go to the options menu on the top right corner of the iTunes ribbon. Click "Join Tracks".
Step 5: Once you have done this the tracks should be joined by a bracket.
Step 5: Once you have done this the tracks should be joined by a bracket.
Step 6: Now right click any one of the tracks and click "Create AAC Version". (If you want to do a different file type, please see Tutorial 2 below.)
Step 6: Now right click any one of the tracks and click "Create AAC Version". (If you want to do a different file type, please see Tutorial 2 below.)
Step 7: Once the disc has scanned, right click the file and select "Get Info". These next steps are how you get the audiobook to remember position.
Step 7: Once the disc has scanned, right click the file and select "Get Info". These next steps are how you get the audiobook to remember position.
Step 8: Under the "Info" section, if the title doesn't already have a number indicator, change the name. Also make sure that the artist, composer, & album match up so that there is no problems with the files being grouped together.
Step 8: Under the "Info" section, if the title doesn't already have a number indicator, change the name. Also make sure that the artist, composer, & album match up so that there is no problems with the files being grouped together.
Step 9: Under the "Options" section, in the "Media Kind" drop down, select Audiobook (this will group it in Audiobooks in most devices automatically). Then check the boxes "Remember playback position", and "Skip when shuffling". Then click "OK".
Step 9: Under the "Options" section, in the "Media Kind" drop down, select Audiobook (this will group it in Audiobooks in most devices automatically). Then check the boxes "Remember playback position", and "Skip when shuffling". Then click "OK".
Step 10: The file will disappear from the music part of the library. On the top left corner, click the library selector, it will be on "Music" by default, and select "Books" instead.
Step 10: The file will disappear from the music part of the library. On the top left corner, click the library selector, it will be on "Music" by default, and select "Books" instead.
Step 11: If you follow these steps, you should have a icon like each of these for each book. If you have multiple icons for one book, go back to Step 8 and make sure all the information matches for each file.
Step 11: If you follow these steps, you should have a icon like each of these for each book. If you have multiple icons for one book, go back to Step 8 and make sure all the information matches for each file.

Tutorial 2: Changing Scan Format

This second tutorial is for changing the file scan format. There are many reasons to do this, from getting a higher quality audio file to making sure the file is compatible with different devices that do not support the Apple AAC format (most devices to now, but it is good to know how to change the format just in case).

Please follow the pictures below to change the scan format. Follow the captions on each picture. Once done, refer to Tutorial 1 for the other steps to making a quality audiobook file.

Tutorial 2

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 1: On the iTunes menu bar, click "Edit" then select "Preferences..."Step 2: Under the "General" tab, select "Import Settings..."Step 3: Select the "Import Using" drop down and select the format you would like. Click "OK" to make the change effective. Follow the steps in Tutorial 1 to import the disc.
Step 1: On the iTunes menu bar, click "Edit" then select "Preferences..."
Step 1: On the iTunes menu bar, click "Edit" then select "Preferences..."
Step 2: Under the "General" tab, select "Import Settings..."
Step 2: Under the "General" tab, select "Import Settings..."
Step 3: Select the "Import Using" drop down and select the format you would like. Click "OK" to make the change effective. Follow the steps in Tutorial 1 to import the disc.
Step 3: Select the "Import Using" drop down and select the format you would like. Click "OK" to make the change effective. Follow the steps in Tutorial 1 to import the disc.

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Final Suggestion

There you have it. The steps are rather simple. Once you do it w few times you should be a pro at it. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below. You are also welcome to share your success. A final tip. If you have an audiobook that is 10 or more discs long, I suggest you have the file numbering system be something like the following:

The Book 01 of 10
The Book 02 of 10
The Book 03 of 10
The Book 04 of 10
The Book 05 of 10
The Book 06 of 10
The Book 07 of 10
The Book 08 of 10
The Book 09 of 10
The Book 10 of 10

The reason for this is suggested so that your mp3 player will not confuse the file numbers. There are some mp3 players which would play file 1 of 10, then skip to file 10 of 10 simply because of the next one in line. This is a flaw in the programming, but still a real problem. Unfortunately the only way around this is a ensure that the device knows the place value of the number by placing a 0 in front of the number you want the track to be.

© 2013 Brian

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