I’ve been listening to audiobooks quite a bit lately in order to make long drives a bit more productive and entertaining. Typically these audiobooks come via CD and work fine for the car ride. To make these audiobooks a little more versatile, I’ve been messing around with ripping them to MP3 format so I can put them on my MP3 player and hold more books . This lets me take them with me beyond the car, I don’t have to change a cd every hour or so (while driving), and it makes the whole setup a little more uniform with the other MP3/M4B audiobooks that I’ve downloaded from my local public library or Audible.
MP3 players have a few more options than CD players, so getting the tracks to play in the right order has been one of the most frequent problems I encounter. To counter that problem, I’ve been using a free tool called Merge MP3. Merge MP3 allows you to take a collection of MP3 files, decide their order, and then amalgamate them all into one single MP3 file. This has worked well for me to combine all the tracks of a CD into a single merged MP3 file and even combine the merged MP3 files of separate CDs into a single MP3 file. The managing of a single file is a whole lot easier, makes it easier to remember where I left off, and means I’m not trying to change CDs while driving.
Track Wrapper is another free application that allows you to wrap multiple MP3s into a single file. It also allows you to split the merged file into the separate tracks later.
I’ve talked about how I prefer making one large file for my audio books with others before and was surprised to find out they prefer just the opposite. They want an audiobook split into tracks for almost every chapter. To accomplish that, they use a tool like Audiobook Cutter which splits the file at points based on a designated length of silence.
Another problem I’ve run into is those awkward tracks that have like 30 seconds of silence on the end of them before the track ends and the next begins. You start wondering if the MP3 player died or if that’s really how the book ends. Correcting this problem with tracks requires reviewing them ahead of time to see if there’s a problem. If you do find a problem, mpTrim is the tool that can take care of it very easily. Just load your .mp3 file and specify how much time you want trimmed from the beginning or the end and then save the trimmed file. You can also use mpTrim to add a nice fade in and fade out to the tracks.
If you don’t want to download and install an application mp3Cut is a website where you can upload your MP3, specify where it should be cut and then download the resulting file. Ideally this is used for ringtones but it could also serve the purpose for any other MP3 file. It’s probably silly to upload and download the file when there are plenty of good clients out there but you don’t always have the option of installing software.
If you have an iPod and want to convert your audiobook from .mp3 files to .m4b, so you can take advantage of the iPod’s bookmarking and other features, you can find an MP3 to iPod/iPhone Audio Book Converter tool to do just that.
If you’re looking for just some general audio tools that will allow you a lot more control over your audio files and to convert to other formats you might look into:
Those tools can be very powerful and let you get exactly what you want from an audio file. Unfortunately, they’re pretty powerless against DRM-wrapped tracks. QTFairUse might be able to unwrap some DRMs but it’s been on the run since receiving a Cease and Desist from Apple. I wouldn’t encourage or even mention DRM if it wasn’t such a pain and didn’t prevent legitimate playback. I have a simple MP3 player that I like to take with me jogging but it doesn’t understand .wma DRM files, ruling those out. FreeMe2 is another application supposedly able to remove DRM from a file as long as you’re running it on a PC that is authorized to play the file. I have found TuneBite to be the best and easiest tool to remove DRM from audio files and convert to other formats, so I haven’t tried these other tools.
I also wasted an hour one night trying to figure out the DRM that OverDrive uses after I downloaded an audiobook through them from my local library after it wouldn’t play on my PC. I finally found a solution on a website’s forums complaining about DRM.
We apologize for the problems that you have encountered. Usually,
resetting the DRM will solve this problem. Please try following these
steps to accomplish that.
** Please note: We apologize, but this is a very involved process.
Please make sure you take the time to follow each step carefully. **
1. Open “Control Panel”.
2. Open “Folder Options” and select the “View” tab.
3. Select “Show hidden files and folders”.
4. UNCHECK “Hide protected operating system files”.
5. In the warning message you receive, click “Yes”.
6. Click “OK”.
7. Close the Control Panel
8. Click the Start button. In the “Start Search” box, paste the following:
C:UsersAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftWindowsDRM
9. Delete ONLY the following 4 files:
10. Close this window and open OverDrive Media Console.
11. Go to “Tools > Windows Media Player Security Upgrade”.
12. Once the upgrade is complete, try downloading a book.
Please let us know if this helped or if we can be of further assistance.
The OverDrive Media Support Team
To which I add that the location for Windows Server 2008 and probably Windows 7, is here: C:programdatamicrosoftwindowsdrm
* Windows 2000 and XP: C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDRM
* Windows 98: C:WindowsAll UsersDRM
* Windows Millennium Edition: C:WindowsDRM
You might find it beneficial to create playlists for your audio books so they play in the right order or to move from one song to the next as you prefer. To easily create playlists, you can use M3U Dropper to create a playlist using audio files from different sources.
The final tool I can recommend is called Mp3tag, it’s a universal tag editor for different file types. I’ve had some MP3 players play in the order specified by the ‘track’ field of the songs tag, despite going through and tediously renaming the tracks so they play in order. Mp3tag allows you to easily edit a songs tags so you can correct the information or change the track number if you need to fix its order.
That covers all the tools I’ve been using lately or looked into as I investigated making listening to audio books a smooth operation. Feel free to add any other tools you recommend in the comments or sources for audiobooks.