Ripping Audiobook CDs with iTunes

Posted on Jan 17, 2010 in Hints, Opinions, UI Design

iTunes made it easy for everyone and their mother to finally join the digital music revolution. Ripping music CDs is straightforward and fairly easy to do, as is buying music via the iTunes Store.

But I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve showed friends and relatives how to import their audiobook / spoken word CDs properly. It was also one of the questions I was most often asked whilst working at an Apple retailer. There are a ton of tools and tutorials on the net that also address this issue, which seems to suggest people continue to struggle with this problem.

By default, iTunes imports CDs as individual tracks and adds them to your “Music” library. To rip something as an audiobook in iTunes 9:

  • Select all tracks
  • Choose Advanced > Join CD tracks
  • Select Import Settings and choose “Spoken Podcast”
  • Import CD
  • Select imported tracks, File > Get Info
  • Under options, select “Media Kind: Audiobook”

To make things easier, I would suggest Apple add a simple option screen, similar to the one they currently show if you select an empty media category.

This is a mockup of what it could look like:

With millions of iTunes users out there, I’m sure this would help a fair number of people, without being troublesome for other users.Comedy CDs and childrens stories continue to be popular on CDs so it’s not just audiobooks that could be ripped with this option. One could even envision some of the other import options being exposed this way, e.g. a “Import losslessly” option.

Anyway, food for thought.

Image credit: Audiobook icon by Splasm Software, Inc.

1 Comment

  1. Nice tutorial. I do have one problem. I now have an ‘audiobook’ for every cd that I imported. Is there anyway to combine all the cd’s into 1 audiobook file?

    Thanks!