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In the early sixties, someone thought, “Hey, wouldnt it be great if we could listen to books instead of reading them?” and audio books were born. Audio books gained popularity shortly after in America as “books on tape” and then as technologies advanced, audio books came out as “books on CD.” The biggest lure was the fact that people could enjoy books in places other than the easy chair. Books suddenly became group activities, and whole families could enjoy a good book together while out for a Sunday drive.
With recent technological advances, audio books are once again evolving. The Internet has brought about a whole new generation of downloadable digital audio books that you can listen to on your computer, mp3 player or CD player. The major advantage is still the same as it was in the sixties — convenience, with the only difference being the extent of the convenience.
Nowadays, you don’t have to go all the way to the book store or grocery store to find an audio book. You can shop, download, burn, copy and transfer audio books right in the comfort of your home. In addition, you can listen to downloadable audio books on a variety of media devices. Before the advent of downloadable audio books, you could only listen to the original books on tape on tape decks. You can find audio books in downloadable mp3 format. And just about anything, including recordings of radio shows in the 1920s to the 1950s as well as plays (something that at one time could only be enjoyed as part of an audience in a theater) can now be enjoyed in downloadable format.
The popularity of audio books in modern society is apparent in the fact that audio books can now be found in just about every single public library in North America, and an ever increasing amount of libraries are offering their patrons downloadable audio books. The system works the same as borrowing a regular old fashioned book where a member downloads the audio book and after a period of time, the file becomes inactive. This is controlled by a DRM (Digital Rights Management) program, which automatically checks files in and out. Once downloaded to your computer, the files can then be transferred to your mp3 player or burned onto a CD. On the “due date,” the DRM automatically checks the file back into the system. At this time, the audio book can no longer be played on your computer or portable media device. It can, however, still be played from a burned CD.
If you have a computer and Internet access, you no longer have any excuse for not enjoying a good book every once in a while.

When you load a CD into your computer’s CD-ROM reader, it automatically loads iTunes and then, if it’s set up with its default, will begin loading the audio files onto the hard disk drive. But what happens if you have downloaded an audio book file from an Internet site directly to your hard disk drive? There’s an additional few steps because of the digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.

If the audio books you have downloaded are subject to DRM and you need to enter a password etc when you first use them, you need to open them initially on your hard disk and complete the signature process.

Next, burn the files to a CD-ROM using Windows Media Player (Windows operating systems come with Windows Media Player as a free add-on) or some other software program that will burn CD-ROMs. Leave the CD in your computer CD reader.

Open iTunes and on the left side of the screen you will see the title “Audio CD” under Devices. Look to the bottom right of the iTunes screen for a button that says “Import CD”. Click that button and iTunes will begin to download the audio book files from your CD to your hard disk.

If the audio titles that are imported simply state Track 1, Track 2 etc, right click on them and select Get Info and then rename them to something you can better understand, for example, Wonderful_Ways_to_love_a_Granchild_ Part 1.

Make a new Playlist with the title something like “Audio Books” and drag the newly titled files into that playlist. Then, when you want to find them on your iPod, you will find it much easier.

Depending on whether you have your iTunes program set for Automatic or Manual Synchronisation, when you attach your iPod, iTunes will automatically begin copying the audio book files and Playlist title to your iPod. If it’s not automatic, you will need to highlight the audio book files and select the Synchronise option.

Because audio book files can be huge, I tend to zip them and backup a copy to my external, portable hard disk drive which I use to store data instead of bogging down my laptop hard disk drive. If I need them again, I can quickly unzip and download or listen to them directly from the hard disk.

If you collect a lot of audio books and want to keep them, you need to get a storage device specially for them as they take up a lot of room and, let’s face it, once you’ve paid for them you don’t want to lose them.

This article should help you copy files from your hard disk drive to your iPod so you can enjoy them any time, anywhere … one of the distinct advantages of audio books. I also like the fact that I can store them electronically and not in a bookshelf (no dusting or tidying up and little space!).

Happy listening.