Shuffle, damn you! Shuffle!
November 9, 2005 12:27 PM   Subscribe

I just got an iPod, of the 20GB click wheel variety. I have a few audiobooks in mp3 format. How do I get iTunes (and my iPod) to recognize these as audiobooks?

I want to be able to shuffle my music, but I can't with those books in there not categorized as books. Is there a specific category I have to throw them into?
posted by graventy to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
 
Also, sort of a side question, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to fast forward. I hold down the forward button...nothing happens until I let go and it goes to the next song. Broken?
posted by graventy at 12:28 PM on November 9, 2005


To fast forward, hit the center button once, and then use the scroll wheel. You can't do an audible fast-forward, though (in other words, you can't scrub the track and listen for the right place to stop).
posted by chrominance at 12:34 PM on November 9, 2005


Googling "ipod fast forward" brought this as the first hint. I hate to point this out, but spend a little time with your friend Google next time.
posted by unixrat at 12:37 PM on November 9, 2005


Changing the genre to "Audiobook" didn't work?
posted by matildaben at 12:40 PM on November 9, 2005


In iTunes, do a Get Info, go to the Options tab, and check "Remember playback position" and "Skip when shuffling". (And if you're lucky, the iPod will also respect those settings.)
posted by smackfu at 12:50 PM on November 9, 2005


For the audiobook thing (if you're on a Mac) try this in order to change the audiobooks from MP3 to an audiobook format.
posted by einarorn at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2005


On the original question, I created a playlist called JustMusic that I use when shuffling. Then I can use playlist functions in iTunes to eliminate audiobooks.

But I'm open to other, more elegant solutions out there in MeFi land!
posted by garbo at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2005


Change the genre to "Audiobook;" and then create a smart playlist to exclude everything in that genre. I just did something similar with streams per this hint.
posted by anathema at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2005


Googling "ipod fast forward" brought this as the first hint. I hate to point this out, but spend a little time with your friend Google next time.

...or your iPod user's manual.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2005


Snark aside, smackfu has the ticket... changing genre and making a playlist isn't enough. the Pod has to recognize the file itself as being bookmarkable.

As for fast forward -- you can either shuttle through the song by clicking the middle button (which will cycle through various things like song rating, and artwork) once and moving the wheel... or by holding down (not clicking; holding) on the 'forward' button
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:14 PM on November 9, 2005


On the original question, I created a playlist called JustMusic that I use when shuffling. Then I can use playlist functions in iTunes to eliminate audiobooks.

There are two ways to shuffle:

1. click "shuffle" from the main menu. Everything will shuffle (though maybe audiobooks won't be included). I find this relatively useless with a large iPod.

2. Go into your settings and turn on Shuffle. Then, go to your playlist that you want to listen to and play it--it will shuffle only the music in that playlist.
posted by Manhasset at 1:27 PM on November 9, 2005


This thread at iPodLounge might help with the bookmarking concern.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:30 PM on November 9, 2005


If you are using a PC, just convert the files to AAC, and then change their extension to "m4a". You can also change their genre to "Audiobook."

There is a bug (or something) on the Mac version of iTunes that makes this not work. If you're on a Mac, you should use this Applescript.

I spent several hours on this a couple weeks back when I got my Nano. Once you have the magic script, it's easy and works just like it should.
posted by alms at 1:45 PM on November 9, 2005


To clarify, the steps I outlined about will give you all the features of audio books: they will appear in the Audiobooks folder, you will be able to listen to them at double- or half-speed, and your iPod will remember where you stopped listening when you stop and go back to the book.
posted by alms at 1:46 PM on November 9, 2005


If you right-click a file and pull up the options there's a "remember position" option you can turn on and off. I do it for all my CarTalk and other NPR recordings I do with my RadioShark.

Unfortunately the stupid iTunes interface won't do it to more than one file at a time but someone upstream here identified a program that will operate on multiple files at once. Personally I just do it by hand - I'm cheap and only add 3-4 new files at a time anyway.
posted by phearlez at 1:52 PM on November 9, 2005


Ooooh I am so dopey - the "do not include in shuffle" option is next to that "remember position" option. You can set any file to be excluded from shuffling, a very useful thing if you have, say, iTrip tuning files in your pod. Or audiobooks, as you identified.
posted by phearlez at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2005


For the iPod to recognize a file as an audiobook just change the file extension from .m4a to .m4b

You can then use the read faster, read normal or read slower options. The iPod will also remember where you leave off if you turn it off.

I've done this on both Macs and PCs and it works the same on both. You can use any file renaming software if you have a lot of files.
posted by krossbow at 2:10 PM on November 9, 2005


The m4a to m4b rename is the key. Beware though the dreaded mono bug. If the book is in MP3 format as alms said, you need to convert to AAC - make sure that you are converting it to a stereo file (which is completely counter-intuitive). On mono files (the obvious default conversion) there is, or was, a nasty little bug which will cause the pod to discharge its battery when not playing anything, which is extremely alarming.
posted by grahamwell at 3:04 AM on November 10, 2005


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