I've been meaning to make an informational post on podbooks for some time. Please forgive my tardiness (and wordiness) in this regard.
1) Because podbooks are my fannish *thing* and curiosity is a fault of mine, I'd like to ask that if you, too, love the m4b format, please add 'podbooks' as an interest on your LJ profile page. So far they are listed by only 14 of us, which is way below the number of downloads the files get.
2) What exactly is
a podbook? A podbook (fannish terminology for audiobook) is a sound file that adds more features to a basic mp3. It adds cover art, makes the mp3 automatically bookmarkable, and, for those with iTunes, moves it out of the Music folder and into a separate Audiobooks folder where it won't be seen or heard when browsing or listening to songs. It also then automatically shows up in an Audiobooks playlist on an iPod.
3) Some mp3 players are not able to play m4b files; others can. To get the added benefits of m4b's on your PC, even if you don't own an iPod or other m4b capable player, you can download Apple's free music software, iTunes, here
. If you have a Mac, iTunes is already part of your system.
4) Not all podbooks that have been compiled by myself and others have been posted to the various LJ podficcing communities. If you wonder if a podbook version of your favorite podfic exists, check general_jinjur
's Audiofic Archive under the reader or author tabs. A category for m4b files also exists and can be found here
. If you don't find what you're looking for in the Archive, you can check with me; I've personally compiled almost 200 podbooks since last August and am working on more, both older podfics and newer ones, all the time.
5) Readers and authors: don't be shy. If you have a podfic you'd like me to 'book and you don't hear/haven't heard from me, feel free to drop me a note. I may not be able to provide cover art for every story in every fandom, but I will do my best. If your story already has a cover or if you have a photo, cap, etc. that you can provide me with, I can have a 'book done in no time at all.
6) Podbooks are not necessarily larger and may actually be smaller files than the original mp3s. The format is extremely compact (and, in fact, gains little from being zipped), and I normally compile at 64 kbps when many mp3s are recorded at 128 kbps and are therefore much larger files. Of course, if the 'book combines several parts into one whole, the file will necessarily be larger than the original bits downloaded separately.
7) I compile 'books using a Mac only software called Audiobook Builder. I know PC software exists, but I don't know anything about it.
I'm cross-posting this to the several podfic comms I belong to. If you have any questions, feel free to ask here or over at the podfic_tips