Guide: Convert your MP3 audiobooks into formats that iTunes will recognise as an audiobook!

Wow, long title! Anyhow, this is the first guide I am making that will be posted on the general blog. And today I’m going to be explaining how to covert your MP3 audiobooks into the format that iTunes will recognise as an Audiobook, and will place in the Audiobooks section on your iPod.

This is quite a complicated process, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you are an amateur with your iPod or iTunes. Basically, I’d like to make it clear now that I don’t take any responsibility if you mess anything up, but if you follow my instructions correctly you should be fine. Please feel free to post a comment if you think I’ve made a mistake anywhere.

What you will need…

iTunes 7 or above (I’m using iTunes 8), a relatively recent iPod (or iPhone), plenty of free space on your hard drive and iPod (you will need a few gigabytes at least), some experience in iTunes.


  1. First of all, you need to get iTunes to find the MP3’s and add them to it’s library (don’t worry – they won’t be there for long). I really suggest you do one book at a time, especially if each chapter has its own MP3. Once they are added you should be able to find them in the Music section of your iTunes (most likely as Unknown Artist). Also, it’s a good idea to write the chapter number and name for each MP3 track, if it’s not done already. Once you’ve located them and got them up, go to the next step.
  2. Select all of the tracks from the book, right click on them, and then select “Create AAC version”. This is going to take a while so grab a coffee and a biscuit.  Once that is done, you should be able to find them in [iTunes directory]/Unknown Artist, unless you renamed the artist name – in which case it will have a folder for the artist name. The iTunes directory is most likely to be in C:/Documents and Settings/[User]/My Music/iTunes for Windows XP or C:/Users/[User]/Music in Windows Vista.
  3. After that, you need to change the format of each M4A in the folder to M4B, so that iTunes will recognise it as an audiobook.
  4. Now simply add the files back into iTunes, and voila! You’ll probably need to add Artist and Album tags, but otherwise, there you go.

10 thoughts on “Guide: Convert your MP3 audiobooks into formats that iTunes will recognise as an audiobook!

  1. David K

    OK, Got it – I hadn’t changed the settings to show file type with the file name. This was why I couldn’t change it.

    Problem solved though my IPod Classic doesn’t group the files into a folder – everything else seems to work fine.

    Many thanks

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  3. GEEK! Post author

    You simply need to rename the file format from m4a to m4b. The actual files are the same format, it’s just iTunes recognises m4b as audiobooks for some reason. 🙂

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