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Chapter 4. The iTunes Music Store > Beyond The Store: Audible.com

Beyond The Store: Audible.com

The availability of audio books at The Store is a marvelous feature, but the iTunes Music Store currently doesn't have as wide a selection of material as Audible.com does, and in some cases, you'll find that the same material is less expensive on Audible.com. Luckily, you can still play Audible.com material on your iPod. In the following pages, I'll show you how.

Downloading and Playing Audible.com Files (Macintosh)

iTunes 3 and the iPod Software 1.2 Updater brought Audible.com compatibility to iTunes and the iPod for Macintosh. The feature works this way:

Launch iTunes 3 or 4, choose Preferences from the iTunes menu, click the General button in the resulting window, and click the Set button next to Use iTunes for Internet Music Playback.

Log onto the Web, and point your browser to www.audible.com.

When you're on the site, find something that you'd like to download (a novel, for example), and click the Add to Basket button.

Click the Checkout button on the page that appears.

If you don't have an Audible.com account, you'll be asked to set one up.

Doing so requires that you submit your name and email address and that you create a user name and password. When you make a purchase, you'll be asked for a credit-card number and more-extensive contact information (street address and phone number).

Review the charges on the next page, and click the Proceed with Purchase button.

The purchase will be processed. After the file is processed, you'll be taken to a page that lists the order number of your purchase and provides links to My Library, a storage area for any Audible.com files you've purchased.

Click the My Library link.

You should see your file (or files, if you've purchased more than one).

Click the Get It Now button next to the file you want to download.

In the window that appears, select a format for the file you want to download.

The Mac and iPod support formats 2, 3, and 4. Format 2 files are the smallest and the lowest-resolution (meaning that they don't sound very good). Format 3 files are larger (and sound better) than Format 2 files. Format 4 files are the largest of all and, as you might expect, are of the highest quality.

After you select a format, click the Download button.

Don't worry—you haven't committed to downloading the file in this one format alone. You're welcome to return to My Library and download the file again in another format (or this same format, if you like).

Double-click the downloaded file.

The file should open in iTunes. (If it doesn't, launch iTunes 3 or 4, and drag the file into iTunes' main window.)

If this is the first time you've used an Audible.com file, enter your Audible.com user name and password when iTunes asks you to do so.

After you enter that information, iTunes will log onto the Web and register your Mac with Audible.com.

When you next update your iPod, any Audible.com files that you've downloaded will be moved to your iPod.

Downloading and Playing Audible.com Files (Windows)

Version 4 of Audible's AudibleManager application supports the iPod on a PC running Windows Me, 2000, or XP. Here are the steps for using AudibleManager:

Create an Audible.com account as I outline in the previous section.

Launch AudibleManager.

Download an Audible file in format 2, 3, or 4 (the iPod doesn't support format 1 files).

Locate the .aa file that corresponds to the audible file you've downloaded (usually on this path: program files\Audible\ programs\downloads\).

Drag the file into the main iTunes window. When you next update your iPod, the Audible.com file will be copied to your iPod.

Note that iTunes may ask you to authorize your computer to play Audible.com files. If so, enter your Audible.com user name and password.

Audiobooks and Audible.com Tips

Apple and Audible.com have done their best to make downloading and playing these files as easy as possible, but you should know a few tricks:

  • You needn't worry about losing your place when you're playing an audio book file. When you stop playing the file in iTunes 3 or 4 or on your iPod, the file will be bookmarked, so when you play the file next, it begins playing from the spot where you left off.

    Better yet, if you listen to the file in both iTunes and on your iPod—a chapter of a novel on your iPod while you're driving to work and a chapter on your office computer when you're supposed to be preparing the company's quarterly earnings statement, for example—the bookmark will be synchronized between the iPod and the Mac or PC the next time you update your iPod. If you most recently played the file on your computer, iTunes will update the bookmark on your iPod so that it matches the bookmark in iTunes.

  • Some Audible.com files are chunked up into sections—by chapters, for example. On a third- or fourth-generation iPod, iPod Photo, and iPod mini, you can navigate through these sections easily by playing an audio book file and pressing the Select button. In the resulting screen, you'll see a timeline with a number of lines that mark each section. Press the iPod's Forward button to move to the next section. Pressing the Back button sends you to the previous section.

  • If your computer relies on a proxy server to access the Internet, iTunes won't be able to register your computer with Audible.com; therefore, you won't be able to play Audible.com files. If you're in such a situation, find another way to get to the Web—via a dial-up connection, for example. You need to make this alternative connection just once, long enough for the computer to be registered with Audible.com.

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