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An audiobook for iPod or a "m4b" file, is nothing more than a chapter-index audio file (usually encoded to aac). Multiple tools can be used to create these: Template:Wikipedia

Scenario 1: Make an m4b file from a single mp3 file or from multiple mp3 files

Required software:


1. Decode and make aac formatted file(s)

Since iPods require aac formatted audio, mp3 files need to be transcoded into aac. First, decode the source mp3 file to wav. Repeat if multiple mp3 files constitute an entire book:

$ lame --decode book.mp3

Encode the wav file(s) to aac:

$ neroAacEnc -q 0.7 -if target.wav -of book1.aac
Tip: If multiple files are used, make use of a for loop if processing them in one line.
$ for i in *.mp3; do lame --decode "$i"; done
$ for i in *.wav; do neroAacEnc -q 0.7 -if "$i" -of "${i%.*}".aac; done

2. Optionally combine multiple aac files into a single file

Multiple aac files need to be concatenated into a single file:

$ MP4Box -cat 1.aac -cat 2.aac book.aac

3. Create metadata for chapter marks

Determine the overall length of the aac:

$ mediainfo --inform="Audio;%Duration/String3%" book.aac

In this example, the file is 19h 4m and 54 s long.

Create a chapter list to break up the file into "chapters" or more digestible parts. The list itself is nothing more than a text file in a specific format (Nero chapter format to be precise). Use makechapterlist to make this automatically.

Note: The current version of makechapterlist simply makes chapter marks at 10 minute intervals. To have the chapter marks coincide with the actual chapter breaks in the audio file, knowledge about when a chapter begins/ends is needed.

The example file calls for roughly 19h 5m of content, but the script uses 10 m intervals so a sane value is simply 19x6=114 chapters.

$ makechapterlist
Writes chapter files using a 10 min interval for each chapter
How many chapters are needed: 114
Done!  /home/facade/chapter.list written.

4. Hardcode the metadata into the audio file

The next step is to merge the metadata in chapter.list with the audio file. This is accomplished using MP4Box:

$ MP4Box -add book.aac -chap chapters.list book.mp4

The resulting file now needs to be converted to Quicktime chapter markers using mp4chaps:

$ mp4chaps –convert –chapter-qt book.mp4

5. Rename the merged file

The final step is to simply rename the mp4 file to the m4b extension:

$ mv book.mp4 book.m4b

Users can now optionally edit the tags in the file with any number of tools. Using vlc is easy. Simply load the file and hit Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress to bring up a tag window. Save the metadata before exiting.

Scenario 2: Add chapter marks to an existing m4b file without them

Required software:

Details: This process is identical to steps 3-5 detailed in Scenario 1.