The guide for audiobooks!

Antoine Fortin
7 min readAug 20, 2023

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Note: This is not about ebooks.. It’s about audiobooks.

As of 2023, audiobook had become one of the most interesting ways to learn, explore, escape and also, of course, give money to all the streaming platforms offering discounts to get you hooked, and then milking the money out of your pocket! Back in the days, you used to buy a cd containing all the audio files… But, not anymore. I find it extremely limiting(and frustrating) to buy an audio book on Audible and then being force to used their client to listen to it on my cellphone. What about, I have a Digital Audio Player, or maybe I want to listen to it offline or etc…

Reading is a drug!

This guide is designed to help fellow audio-book lover to enjoy freely this type of content! It contains some tools, some tricks and freeware I found along the years of collecting them.

Streaming is not dead!

Before diving into local audiofiles, what about trying to stream your favorite audio books? Here is DIY list!

Youtube: Won’t let you down!

If you are looking for a stream of any audiobook, Youtube contains a lot of audiobooks for free. The challenge is only to query it properly to find what you are looking for!

Tips(starts here): https://www.youtube.com/@Audio-Books

TokyoBook: Let you stream the library for free!

If you are new to audiobook, start here! Just start to stream, and enjoy :D

Where to get Audiobook on the Web?

Always make sure you buy your audiobook before exploring the none-paying solutions. At your local library, on Amazon Audible etc… The amount of resources to get audiobooks are growing day-in, day-out.

On another part, there are many of you that might not want to dive into audiobook binded with a specific player such as Audible, and this is more than valuable to write a few lines on how to get them… Once again, when it comes to niche content such as Audiobook, there is a lot of noise around Reddit posts and how to actually got your hands on a Mp3 files of your favorite writers. So let’s start by the basic:

AudioBookBay

Install your favorite Torrent Client and go to the AudioBookBay!

This is the go to! Not only is it available by everyone, so you will not need any sort of invite-link to skim into the catalogue, but most of the books are direct download ready! Plus, you can find by category.

If you are looking for a best-seller or audiobook version of the last book you bought, 95% of the times, you will find it on the AudioBookBay!

MAM!

In the world of private trackers, you will find what you are looking for

If you are willing to invest yourself in a community, well there is a private tracker called MAM! I was on what.cd back then, and while the community of this tracker was hell of fun, there is nothing like MAM. Thousands of users sharing the love of books!

MAM is not a leecher place, you will need to dive in to enjoy it! It is one of the best place on the Internet when it comes to Audiobooks, radio shows, books and bookclubs. There is nothing like this tracker!

Make sure that you read all the rules befores applying for an invite! This is one of the best community for audiobooks!

Audible to local.

Let’s say you just bought yout favorite audiobook on Audible and you want the MP3 files… One of the basic ways to do it would be to record every seconds of the audio player on your web browser, and then manage all of the files. This is not something I have the time to do, when I am going to a run or a bike ride, I prefer my audiobook downloaded and ready to play.

I tried a lot of solution, but the way to go is called Libation

You can, out of the box, download your rentals and purchases into local .Mp3 files. It’s not the most convenient tool to setup, but once set, it is easy as 1–2–3 to download your Audible content into local .Mp3 files :D à

Niche?

As you know, there will always be more niche when it comes to your favorite types of literature! Let’s assume you tried every of the above solutions and you still haven’t found what you were looking for… Here is a list of the ressources you might want to try! :)

For scifi and horror:

I cannot but enough of Galaxy Audio Book. The UI is not the best around, but it comes with a built-in audio player, wich makes it great to listen to a few chapters!

For romance, fantasy and drama!

The FantasyAudiobook is far from the above on the amount of files, but if you are looking for romance, good chances the book will be there!

Where to get Audiobook for free?

1: Your local library usinngn Libby!

https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby

2: Public Domain Audiobook

Librivox have a lot of free audiobooks.

3: Public radio broadcasters such as CBC, BBC, ABC

They have a lot of audiobooks to listen.

Converting guide!

M4B and M4A.

When you buy an audiobook, you might receive a M4B or M4A file.

What is the difference between the 2?

Well, in short, there are not many huge differences as they both contains audio data. One of the big difference is on the meta-data layer of those files. While the M4A and M4B contains metadata, such as chapters, markers images etc. However, M4B has something more in its Metadata and it’s the resume playback, being used to indicated the audiobook player where you are in the current listening of the book.

I have a M4B file and I want to play it on my regular audiofile player, can I do this?

Yes, while some of the audioplayer on Android might cause problems with the M4B and forced you to buy an app or free audiobook player app, the simplest way is simply to open a file browsers and rename it to M4A. By doing this, you will be able to open it most of the audio player on Android Devices.

While most audio player might not open M4B by default as they contains metadatas that are not the same as M4A, but by simply renaming the M4B to M4A this works just fine.

Let’s say we have this abook.m4b

And I rename it to the same file but change its extension to .m4a

By opening it, you will see that nothing really changed, but the file will open in many audio player app.

Well by default it opens to VLC.

But what about MP3?

I really think that the best way to batch convert a audiobook to mp3 is too use Foobar2000 and the lame.exe to convert a .m4b to .mp3.

In this little step by step, I will detail every steps:

1: Start by installing Foobar2000(the best audio player around for Windows)

2: Once install, go inside the destination where the folder had been installed and place the lame.exe file(you need this file to convert M4B and M4A to Mp3)

32Bit : https://www.rarewares.org/files/mp3/lame3.100.1-win32.zip

32Bit : https://www.rarewares.org/files/mp3/lame3.100.1-win32.zip

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After that, you will be able to convert any m4B book into single .mp3 file per chapter, or what not your m4B had been devided into!

3. Open Foobar!

And then select quick-convert. Once open, the menu will grant you with the output format, select Mp3.

Foobar will pop you with this, and say yes! We downgrade.

And then it will ask you to select where you want to save it:

At this point, the only hard stuff if to convert from m4b to mp3. Explore Foobar, make your own rules, code your own routines.

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Antoine Fortin

In between Montreal and London, I love to write, read, learn and explore.