Did you know that the iPod is supporting two additional audiobook features that are not advertised that much by Apple? Audiobooks in the m4b format support the adjustment of the reading speed and pointers to the last reading position of the audiobook. Those features are not available if your audiobooks have the mp3 extension.
The features do however become available if you convert your mp3 audiobooks into m4b format that is supported by your iPod and other Apple devices. Another possible benefit of the operation is that you can merge multiple mp3 files, for instance if the original audiobook has been split into multiple files, into one larger file instead. You can use the Open Source program MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter to make as many conversions as you like.
Once installed you simply add all parts of the audiobook to the list of mp3's that you want to convert. Make sure they are in the correct order as it would not be nice if you would have to manually jump around to find the correct chapter if they are not sorted in order. The program is not the fastest but still sufficient for the majority of tasks. It took about eight minutes to turn one audiobook CD in mp3 format into a single m4b audiobook file.
The output size was a little bit astonishing. The original mp3 files had a size of nearly 100 megabytes while the new m4b file had a third of that file size. 34 Megabytes instead of 100 Megabytes was an incredible reduction without noticeable loss of quality.
So, to use it you simply add all files you want to convert to m4b using the add button in the interface. Once done select whether you want them turned into a single output file or kept separate.
The program features a tag editor which you can use as well, and there is an option to create chapter markings.
Please note that the application has not been updated since 2008. It is however compatible with all recent Apple devices including the iPhone and iPad, as they all support the m4b audiobook format.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.