Related link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/ipodtuneshks/
I recently bought The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction from the iTunes Music Store. Since the purpose of this purchase was to fill my grueling two-mile, fifteen-minute commute to work, I needed to burn the audiobook to CD (I do have a Griffin iTrip, but I’ve been experiencing way too much interference to make that listening experience reliable or enjoyable). I immediately came across a stumbling block that anyone who has bought an audiobook from the iTMS will no doubt already be familiar with.
When you buy an audiobook on CD and import it into iTunes, it’s conveniently broken up into short, easily digestible tracks. Not so with the same audiobook purchased from the iTMS. When my my new audiobook finished downloading, the whole book was crammed into just two tracks:
Though these unweildy tracks offer the ability to automatically bookmark your place, this “feature” quickly becomes annoying when you want to jump to a chapter or passage you’ve already read and want to return to. But that’s an annoyance for another discussion. Though the one hour and seven minute second track is annoying for other reasons, at least it will all fit on one CD. The problem at hand is with that two hour and forty minute first track, which just won’t.
So, what’s a boy to do? If you’ve spent any time with editing track information in iTunes, you can probably guess my makeshift solution. It’s an inelegant hack, but it’s all I could come up with:
- Start listening to the unwieldy track somewhere close to an hour into it (some end point that a standard audio CD will accommodate) and find a reasonable stopping point (note the time).
- Select the track and choose File > Get Info (Command-I).
- In the Options tab, change the Stop Time from the default (the complete track):
to match the break you’ve chosen, like this:
- Create a playlist containing that track and burn your first CD.
- Now, repeat this process for each of the CDs you’ll need to burn the entire audiobook, shifting the Start Time of subsequent CDs to match the Stop Time of the preceding CD.
Whew! I managed to burn my audiobook to CD. But in doing so, I realized another annoyance–namely, that more granular track information actually is available in those huge unmanageable chunks iTunes gives you. For some reason, they’re just hidden and unnaccessable until you burn a CD. When I burned my first CD (one track: Start Time 0:00 and Stop Time 58:27), here’s what the track information ended up looking like on the CD:
Now, it’s annoying enough that I didn’t have access to this information from the beginning (it certainly would have made it easier to locate good beginning and end points for my CDs), but the biggest annoyance is that last three and half minute track, which really belongs to a much larger track that wound up on my disc 2. If I’d known where natural the breaks were, I would have actually used that information to burn cleaner, more intuitive copies to CD.
So, here’s my plea to all you hackers out there: does anyone have a solution, some way of revealing the secret track information hidden within these audio behemoths before burning to CD (i.e., when that information is actually useful)?
I imagine Hadley Stern would agree with me that an interesting, nonobvious solution to this problem would be a prime candidate for inclusion in a future edition of iPod and iTunes Hacks.
Got a hack?