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Converting to iTunes Audiobooks: How to Add Bookmarking to iTunes Songs

Use this hack to get iTunes to remember the playback position of any song

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The Importance of Moving Files in Your iTunes Library to the Correct Folder
Part of keeping your iTunes library organized involves making sure that your ever-increasing collection of media files are in the right place. This makes it easy to find, play, and sync files to your iPod, iPhone, and iPad. However, over time you will probably have all sorts of digital audio files in the iTunes Music folder (allocated for songs) which shouldn't be there at all. For example, if you've ripped a selection of audiobooks from CD (rather than purchasing and downloading from the iTunes Store) then there's a good chance that these ripped audio files will probably end up in the iTunes Music folder instead of the Books section. To help you to efficiently prune your iTunes library so it remains in good shape, Apple have made it easy to quickly change the media type of files so they are automatically sorted into the right category.

Why Treating a Song as an Audiobook is Sometimes Useful
There's an advantage to be gained sometimes in fooling iTunes into thinking that a song is an audiobook. By changing the media type of a song to an audiobook, you will be able to add a bookmarking feature which isn't normally available for music files. You may want to do this for example if the the total playing time of an audio file is very long. Instead of having to go through the process of splitting audio files up into individual parts using an audio editing tool, or converting to a different format, you can simply add a bookmarking facility by telling iTunes -- "hey, it's an audiobook!" Not only is this iTunes hack a great organizational tool, but it can save you a huge amount of time performing unnecessary tasks.

Unlike the more drastic measures highlighted above, this is a reversible process too. If you want to move a song that is in the Books section back to the Music category, you can simply change its media type again and watch it automatically get put back with the rest of your songs.

Have You Backed up Your iTunes Library First?
There is nothing destructive about this tutorial, but before you start changing things in your iTunes library, it's a good idea to create an up-to-date backup so you'll have a disaster recovery option just in case. If you're not sure on how to go about this, we've written an iTunes library backup tutorial to help you. If anything does go wrong with your song collection, you'll always be able to recover your iTunes library from the backup you made.

Tutorial Steps: How to Make iTunes Songs Act Like Audiobooks
Whatever your reason for wanting to fool iTunes into treating some of your audio files as audiobooks, take a look at the tutorial below to see how this is achieved.

  1. Viewing the Music Category
    Run the iTunes software and look in the left pane for the Library section. Underneath this, click on the Music menu option. This will then list all the songs you have in this category.
  2. Selecting Songs to Change
    If you want to select a single song to change to an audiobook, then just right-click on it and choose the Get Info option from the pop-up menu.
    • To select multiple songs to change -- hold down the [CTRL Key] (Mac: [Command Key]) on your keyboard and click on multiple songs to highlight them. Right-click and choose the Get Info option.
    • To highlight a block of songs to change -- click on the first song, hold down the [Shift Key] and then click on the end song in the block to highlight your selection. Right-click and select the Get Info option.
  3. Changing the Media Type
    Click the Options menu tab at the top of the Window that just opened. Click the drop-down menu for the Media Kind option and choose Audiobook from the list. Click the drop-down menu next to the Remember Position option and choose Yes from the list. Click OK to convert.
  4. Checking your Converted Songs are Now Audiobooks
    Finally, to check the songs you selected have been automatically redefined as audiobooks, click the Books menu option (in the Library section) in the left pane of iTunes. You should now find that iTunes will remember a song's playback position if you stop it before it reaches the end.
If you want to rollback this conversion at any time, simply highlight the songs in the Books category and change the Media Kind option to Music (via Get Info).

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