Transfer Audible.com content to Droid

22 04 2010

Audible.com have been slow to provide an Android application for their service. Audible .aa files are DRM protected and will not play natively on android phones. As a paying subscriber it can frustrating to pay for an audible book and not be able to listen to it on the primary device you own.

There is a way to convert Audible .aa DRM protected files to MP3 using iTunes and a program called NoteBurner. NoteBurner is free to try and costs $35 for the un-crippled version. The quality of the converted mp3’s is awesome.

The process is fairly straightforward, however I have found a few glitches in the NoteBurner software that requires some tweaking to get it to work reliably. It’ll take 5 minutes to setup the first time, but conversion thereafter is just a few clicks.

Initial Setup

  • You need to register your Audible content to work with iTunes.
  • Then download NoteBurner, I suggest you use the free version to prove it will work on your setup. (Some Mac users have complained the software is unreliable on that platform).
  • Open the Noteburner control panel and change the MP3 quality from 160 Bits/sec down to 96, this will make the process more reliable and the spoken word does not require high bit rate for  quality result.

    Click to Enlarge

  • Setup the naming of files to be album /number/artist / title so the ‘track number’ is attached to the begging of the file name, this is important if NoteBurner splits the audio into separate segments, which it will for longer audio tracks.

    Click to enlarge

How to Convert aa  file(s)to MP3 file(s)

  • In iTunes you add the audible content to a play-list and click on ‘burn’ as if you are going to burn the content to a CD.
  • In iTunes select the NoteBurner virtual CD Burner instead of your CD drive. I elected to do volume leveling with no gap between tracks. Be sure to tell iTunes to include CD text.
  • Once you click OK to begin the burn process, iTunes does a preparation step prior to beginning the actual burn process. During the burning process you will see a NoteBurner progress bar pop-up out of the notification tray showing progress.

N.B. Audible.com content can only be burned to a CD once, if you make a misstep or a problem comes up you will not be able to repeat the conversion. So do not do other tasks on the computer they may interrupt the operation. Experiment with free content from Audible first before converting paid for content on audible. I have successfully transferred the New York Times daily digest (complementary content) from iTunes podcast to my droid to listen to during my morning commute. The audio quality is awesome.

Transfer considerations to the Droid

I have found NoteBurner splits up the audio into 7 minute and 30 second  segments. If you had NoteBurner put a track number on the beginning of each file then when you transfer the files to the droid they will be sequenced perfectly. I have found the transition from one segment to another is almost transparent, sometimes you hear a click as it goes onto the next track, other times it goes unnoticed.

Can you do this without forking out the $35 for NoteBurner?

Yes. Instead of burning to MP3 via NoteBurner, burn directly to a physical CD-R, you can now play this in a CD player.  This is less convenient, but the advantage is that one now has a physical backup of ones ‘paid for’ content.

Is this Legal/Moral/within Audible Terms of Service?

Probably so. My answer is prefaced by the statement that I’m not a lawyer and don’t pretend to know copyright law, the laws where you live will no doubt vary. Here is my take on using this tool.

  • The Audible content has been paid for on Audibles website using a web browser and subsequently downloaded using Audibles download tool.
  • I’m keeping the content to myself. Nothing is being sold, shared or given away.
  • iTunes is authorized for use with Audible content.
  • Burning Audible content to a CD device using iTunes is not only provided for by Audible, they encourage its customers to backup their paid for content. Here is an excerpt of their terms of service.
    • Accordingly, we encourage you to make back-up copies of purchased Audible Content as referenced above.
  • Once I have listened to the content on my Droid I delete it.

Could you have your Audible account canceled by doing this? Quite possibly, Audible reserve the right to cancel the agreement whenever it suits them.

I look forward to the day when there is an Audible application for the Droid to make all of this extra effort and expense unnecessary.

Update: 2010-09-08: Hooray!!!  The official Audible app is now available in the Android Market!! Read more here.


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7 responses

5 06 2010
Official Audible App for Android beta available now! « JPWhite's Tech Blog

[…] files to mp3′s and play using the Android media player using the procedure I detailed in this other post. However the convenience to download directly to your android device instead of going through a […]

13 06 2010
DRM Workaround for your Audio Books « slappHappe

[…] volume and double-click the Soundflower package to install.     Suggested reading: Transfer Audible.com content to Droid at JPWhite’s Tech Blog | Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Apple Says […]

13 06 2010
slapphappe

Even though the Andriod now has an Audible solution there are other reasons you’d want an .mp3 of your audiobook. I have written up a solution similar to this for Apple Mac users which, very simply, is: The audiobook will play in iTunes on your Mac. Soundflower will route the speaker audio to the microphone where Audacity+LAME will pick it up and re-record it and export and .mp3 file.

Full instruction at my my blog if this brief outline is too short …

http://slapphappe.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/drm-workaround-for-your-audio-books/

26 10 2010
Polyethylene :

CD Players are nice but today we have DVD players and Blu-ray players that are even nicer -..

31 10 2010
Spray Insulations :

most of the time i listen to audiobooks while surfing the net, i love to multitask he he ::

25 03 2012
Dev

I know this is a really old post, but just in case…solution to the physical cd backup….
If you burn to a physical CD, you can then set I-Tunes to import all CD Tracks from audio disks as MP3, reinsert the disk back into you computer, i-Tunes will ask if you want to import the CD, say yes and ta-da…you have your audio books split into like 50 tracks, but…it works beautifully to then drag them over from the i-tunes folder on your PC directly to your music file on your Droid.

I had to find this issue due to a maximum number of devices linked to my audibles account. I just wasn’t willing to “unlink” any of the other devices that I had.

15 04 2013
robin

Though it’s an very old post, I must say that I’m really amazed that this Noteburner still works with my audible file! It just works like a charm!!!

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