How to create an iTunes/iPod compatible audiobook (MPEG4 m4b) on Linux using MP4Box and mp4v2 v1.9.1 – it can be done!

I’ve been wracking my brains over this for the past few weeks and it finally struck me how to create an m4b audiobook with chapters that is compatible with your iPod, iTunes, VLC, etc.  It was very simple once I figured it out:

Step 1:

encode the mp3 files to “aac” (mpeg4) using your favorite converter (I use ffmpeg):

ffmpeg -i "track1.mp3" -y -vn -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ar 44100 -threads 3 -f mp4 track1.aac

Step 2:

Create a chapters file so that MP4Box can understand it:

* Common syntax : CHAPTERX=h:m:s[:ms or .ms] on one line and CHAPTERXNAME=name on the other – the order is not important but chapter lines MUST be declared sequencially (same X value expected for 2 consecutive lines).

track1.chapters:

CHAPTER1=00:00:00.000
CHAPTER1NAME=Chapter 001
CHAPTER2=00:30:00.139
CHAPTER2NAME=Chapter 002
CHAPTER3=01:00:00.728
CHAPTER3NAME=Chapter 003
CHAPTER4=01:30:01.269
CHAPTER4NAME=Chapter 004
CHAPTER5=02:00:01.858
CHAPTER5NAME=Chapter 005
CHAPTER6=02:30:02.375
CHAPTER6NAME=Chapter 006
CHAPTER7=03:00:02.964
CHAPTER7NAME=Chapter 007
CHAPTER8=03:30:03.553
CHAPTER8NAME=Chapter 008
CHAPTER9=04:00:04.094
CHAPTER9NAME=Chapter 009
CHAPTER10=04:30:04.683
CHAPTER10NAME=Chapter 010
CHAPTER11=05:00:05.224
CHAPTER11NAME=Chapter 011
CHAPTER12=05:30:05.765
CHAPTER12NAME=Chapter 012
CHAPTER13=05:46:14.106
CHAPTER13NAME=Chapter 013
CHAPTER14=06:16:14.143
CHAPTER14NAME=Chapter 014
CHAPTER15=06:46:14.732
CHAPTER15NAME=Chapter 015
CHAPTER16=07:16:15.249
CHAPTER16NAME=Chapter 016
CHAPTER17=07:46:15.790
CHAPTER17NAME=Chapter 017
CHAPTER18=08:16:16.331
CHAPTER18NAME=Chapter 018
CHAPTER19=08:46:16.920
CHAPTER19NAME=Chapter 019
CHAPTER20=09:16:17.460
CHAPTER20NAME=Chapter 020
CHAPTER21=09:46:18.050
CHAPTER21NAME=Chapter 021
CHAPTER22=10:16:18.639
CHAPTER22NAME=Chapter 022

Step 3:

Add the chapters to the audio file (creates Nero format chapter markers):

MP4Box -add track1.aac -chap track1.chapters test.mp4

Step 4:

Convert the Nero chapter markers to Quicktime chapter markers using mp4chaps from the mp4v2 project (you will want v1.9.1 or higher):

mp4chaps --convert --chapter-qt test.mp4
converting chapters in file "test.mp4" from Nero to QuickTime

Step 5:

Rename the file from .mp4 to .m4b extension so iTunes will see it as an audiobook:

mv test.mp4 test.m4b

Proof that it works:

and VLC showing the chapters:

Of course, we aren’t putting in any tags such as “author” or “genre” in this example. Use your favorite tags editor to do so.

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Podiobooks.com: Earth Core review

Earth Core
Earth Core

I’ve been listening to the free audio book, Earth Core, by Scott Sigler on Podiobooks.com.

The premise is when a mysterious double sided platinum blade is found in a cave,  the largest deposit of platinum (multi billion $$$) on the planet is discovered three miles under a mountain.  A mining company, called Earth Core, needs not only to stake a claim but find a way to extract the platinum.   The miners have their hands full when the platinum ‘deposit’ fights back.

From the super ex-CIA agent to the spelunking uber-geologist, the story is a wild one.  I’m very impressed with Mr. Sigler’s ability to make the characters and the scenario seem very real.

If you are into adventure stories and a little gore won’t phase you, treat yourself to a good time by reading or listening to Earth Core.  You won’t forget it. 🙂

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AudioBook Review: AmerIndian 2192 by J. Scott Garibay

I just finished the audio book AmerIndian 2192 by J. Scott Garibay while commuting to work.  Garibay is a new author and I have to say I’m very impressed.

The story is easy to follow with the exception of the flashbacks to 20 years prior (during the White Earth massacre segments).  There wasn’t a clear transition between the present and the flashback.  I assume there was in the printed book.  Perhaps a 5 second delay in the audio or similar could be performed in future audiobooks.

I had trouble with dialog of the Admiral Lye character.  He appears to be a cross between Captain Ahab, General Custer and Darth Vader.  I believe that the point of view of such a butcher is alien to the author… making it difficult for the dialog to be largely believable.  Fortunately, the dialog of Admiral Lye is short.  I’m hoping Garibay is able to revisit Admiral Lye in future novels…  the character has a great deal of potential (how did Lye become what he did?).

The AmerIndian Confederacy (AC) was created by the AmerIndian tribals to regain their homeland.  The problem, albeit a minor problem, is that we’re not given any real incite on how they became a power in the universe – it was created twenty odd years prior and now is able to take on Earth?  The AC is a utopian society, a highly successful business, a mercenary group, and a terrorist group.

The premise:

AmerIndian 2192 is a science-fiction novel that explores the intriguing possibilities of Native Americans in mankind’s star flung future. AmerIndian 2192 presents the story of two brothers, Wovoka and Keokuk, restoring the Native American people to a Homeland where their vibrant culture can thrive. Lodge ships, Cybershaman rituals and Tsimshian high technology are all elements in this action-oriented tale of interstellar politics and personal struggles.  — Podiobooks.com

I would put it differently:

AmerIndian 2192 is the story of the rebirth of pre-Columbian Native American culture and a homeland in a far flung galaxy.  The price required by the Grand Fathers nearly destroys the homeland after the Ghost Dance ritual is performed.

The narrator, LeighAnn Garibay, performed quite well but it is obvious she isn’t a professional narrator.  She doesn’t have to be for this novel.  Kudos to her!

The audiobook on Podiobooks.com easily leaves room for a sequel (please let there be one!).  What happens to the UDA, the clones, and the Admiral Lye (sp)?  Does Wovoka ever find peace?  How many of the tribals fail transition to the new life even though they try?  The author has the opportunity to make a “Garibay” universe here.

I would love to see short stories related to AmerIndian 2192 by Garibay and other authors (fan fiction).

I definitely recommend this audiobook! 🙂

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