Convert MP3 Audio Files to AudioBooks i iTunes

How to Convert MP3 Audio Files to AudioBooks in iTunes

I have an iPod touch with which I like to listen to audio teachings that have been delivered as MP3 audio files.  Often those teachings are an hour long or more, and my iPod has a habit of forgetting where I stopped mid teaching.  I only recently discovered the benefits of the AudioBook format:

  • It remembers where I left off
  • It has this great feature that allows you to skip back or forward in 15 second intervals.  I love this because often I hear something I want repeated and I can just click that icon once or twice depending on how far back I want to go.  In the past I would be trying to use the scroll bar to scan back 30 seconds which was impossible.
  • You can speed up or slow down the speed, something I have no interest in, but thought I would mention it for those who might.

I wanted this for my teachings and lectures that I listen to.  Is that possible?  Yes.  And fairly easy to do.

Your options

  1. Convert your MP3 files to AudioBook files.  I have done this successfully with a free app on my Mac called ChapterMark.  It was fairly straight forward with a few basic steps and options making it relatively easy to do.  (I believe there are other programs that do this on a PC, but I don’t own a PC so did not test it out.)
  2. Change how iTunes displays your file(s).  I have done this as well.  Again, relatively easy and straight forward.

Option 1.  The Steps: Convert your MP3 to AudioBook files

  1. Download ChapterMark;
  2. Add audio files to app;
  3. Choose an audio quality setting (I tested and recommend the quality “Good” which had a nice balance between file size and audio quality for my test case);
  4. Click the button to Create the AudioBook.
  5. You can also add cover art (just create an image at 600px x 600px and drag to obvious location).
  6. When it is done creating your AudioBook, it will automatically add it to your iTunes library.
  7. If your file or number of files are too large for the iTunes size limitation, ChapterMark will automatically break it up into separate audio files of relatively equal size.  In iTunes they will still group together as parts of one book.

Option 2.  The Steps:  How to change your audio files to AudioBooks in iTunes

  1. How to change your audio files to AudioBooks in iTunesOpen iTunes and find the audio track(s) you want to change in your Library.
  2. Single Track:  Right click or Control click* the track name and select Get Info.
  3. Multiple Tracks:  Select all tracks you want to change.  Do this by holding the down the Shift key** and clicking the first and last track in a group; or if they are not all listed next to each other, hold down the Command key** while clicking on each track to select those tracks only.  Then, Right click or Control click* the track name and select Get Info.
  4. Click Options.
  5. Next to “Media Kind”, use the select list to choose AudioBooks.  (The box will tick itself automatically.)
  6. Change “Part of a compilation” to Yes if you have a group of tracks that you want grouped together in one audio book as a group of chapters.
  7. Change “Remember position” to Yes, because you will want that.
  8. Change “Skip when shuffling” to Yes, because you likely do not want your lectures to be shuffled with your music when listening to your music on Shuffle.
  9. That’s it.  Click OK.  Now your audio files will seem to disappear before your eyes, but they are just being moved to your Books section of iTunes.  You can find your Books using the dropdown options near top left of iTunes (on a Mac at least) which should say “Music” now.

*Right click if you have a mouse with a right click option.  Control click means to hold down the Control key while clicking if you are on a Mac for example without a right click.

**These commands work on a Mac.  I am not sure what the commands are for a PC.

Bonus Step:  Add Artwork

If you want artwork to go with your new book, you can add a photo to represent your book as follows:

  1. Go to your new book and Right Click or Command Click it again, and again select Get Info.
  2. On the Info tab there is an option in the right column for Artwork.  If you double click that white box, it will allow you to add an image from your desktop.  The default artwork size for such a file is 600 x 600 pixels, (that is 600 pixels wide by 600 pixels high).
  3. Click OK.

Enjoy your listening.  And if you have any feedback, comments, additions, feel free to comment below.

16 Responses to How to Convert MP3 Audio Files to AudioBooks in iTunes

  1. randy September 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

    This is the same procedure others have described, but for me, every time I do it, I get separate m4b files, one for each mp3 that was converted. I’m using a Mac as well, but never get the files combined into one audiobook file. Files are sequentially, etc. but no luck. If anyone else had this problem and solved it, PLEASE post.

    P.S. Have used AudioBookBinder, which works very well, but had a file size limitation that prohibits large audiobooks.

    • David Tierney September 7, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      It has been so long since I wrote, and not something I do much, this that I can’t say I have any feedback, but hopefully someone here will.

  2. Alan August 11, 2017 at 6:09 am #

    You have made this so simple – very helpful

  3. Andy Enright July 4, 2017 at 6:33 am #

    Thanks! Was able to streamline the process- first added all tracks to iTunes, then searched for title, choose the “album” rather than all the songs, and the conversion was simplified. The audio book now shows up in the audio book section of iTunes, ready to play! Thanks again.

  4. Grey Wolf April 4, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    By the way, I just tried converting the mp3 into an audiobook and everything worked except for the “remember” where the track stopped last bit. The box to remember is selected though, so any help would be brilliant.

    Cheers

    • David Tierney April 5, 2017 at 10:17 am #

      I would help but it has been so long since I did this that I have no clue.

  5. Grey Wolf April 4, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Thank you very much mate! I’ve been trying to do this exact thing for ages, but never found how. So loads of thanks!

  6. Liesbeth February 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

    Great, thank you

  7. Marcia July 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    I was having a really hard time figuring this out last night. So glad I came across this article. Thank you!

  8. Jordan July 6, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    Very helpful for getting a bunch of books out of music music collection and shuffle rotation. Thank you!

  9. Brooks Agnew June 23, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    An audiobook is recorded as separate mp3 files in a certain order, like chapter 1, 2, etc. When these are imported into Itunes, they are randomized. When the audiobook conversion is done, Itune further messes things up by making 3 or 4 different audiobooks with different combinations in each book. They can never be recombined into one single audiobook with the chapters in order.

    • John September 2, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      I think you may have to rename your mp3 files to include a number. I’ve used it at the begining. This sorts them into the chapters that I want. Hope this helps.

      • David Tierney September 6, 2016 at 10:59 am #

        thanks for the tip John.

  10. yates April 14, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Very helpful, Thank you

  11. Eric Barnes December 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Thanks. I apprectiate it. This helped

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