Make iTunes think a track is an audiobook file?

I have a CD with spoken word tracks. I’d like to load them in iTunes and have them appear under the audiobook menu but I can only load into the music library. I checked the file info on both some music tracks and some audiobook tracks; I don’t see any difference other than the file extension (mp3 vs m4b) so I assume that’s how iTunes determines which files go where (at least on a Mac, another assumption is it’s the same on a PC). Could someone verify that?

If my assumption is correct, is there any way to fool iTunes into thinking a file belongs under the audiobook menu instead of the music? I suppose I could get a program that will convert files from mp3 to m4b, but I’d rather not have to work that hard.

I did not want the spoken tracks play when I was shuffling; while checking things out I found “skip while shuffling” in the track info so my real problem is solved, now I am just curious.


That is all it takes, just rename the extension to .m4b. I used to have a freeware program that did just this, but I don’t remember the name of it.

I just found this AppleScript that changes the extension and re-adds the files to the library so they appear in the Audiobooks section:

Beauty. Thanks.

Here’s the long way to do it if you don’t have a script (i.e. you have a PC).

Go to Edit - Preferences - Advanced - Importing
Choose to import using AAC Encoder

Highlight the files you want to convert
Go to Advanced - Convert Selection to AAC

This will convert the files to m4a. Delete the files from iTunes but not from wherever they are stored. Go to wherever the files are stored and rename the extensions from .m4a to .m4b. Then add the files back to iTunes.

They should then show up in the audiobooks folder.

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Macworld to read on the plane, and they reviewed a $10 program called Audiobook Builder that appears to do a nice job of this. In addition to importing the file (which can be done manually), it manages things like cover art, chapters, and bookmarks. There was also a link to an audiobook how-to.