iTunes 3: How to create CDs from Audible content

Learn how to convert Audible files and save them on an audio CD.
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iTunes 3 can play and use Audible spoken word files from Audible audio files are a proprietary audio format that use security technologies, including encryption, to protect purchased content. To understand how to use Audible files to burn audio CDs, it's important that you understand a number of limitations to their usage. Additional information is available by visiting to Audible's web site.

If you have a later version of iTunes, see "iTunes: How to create CDs from Audible content."

Limitations to Using Audible Audio

You can use iTunes 3 to listen to any Audible audio content, just like you would with any other audio or music file. Audible files can be organized into playlists or smart playlists. You can edit their ID3 tag information just like any other audio file. You can even provide a personal rating or an equalizer preset.

There are a few things you cannot do with Audible audio files.

  • Audible audio cannot be converted to other audio formats.
  • Audible audio cannot be used to create MP3 CDs.

If you try to convert an Audible file to a MP3 using the Convert Selection to MP3 command in the Advanced menu, the message "Audible files cannot be converted to other formats." appears.

If you try to burn an MP3 CD from a playlist that includes some Audible content, an alert box with this message appears: "None of the items in this playlist can be burned to CD."

You cannot burn Audible files to CD as MP3. You must burn them as AIFF or as audio CDs. allows for a single set of audio CDs to be created from their purchased content.

Burning Audible Audio to CD

Burning Audible audio can be difficult, based on the large size of a lot of the files. Many of the audio files (like audio books) can be many hours in length. If you attempt to burn a CD from a file that is larger than the space available on the CD, an alert box with the message "One or more of the songs in this playlist will not fit on the CD." appears.

An audio CD is limited to 60 to 80 minutes of audio content. A basic recordable CD (CD-R) allows for 74 minutes of audio, but CD-R discs are available in lengths up to 80 minutes.

To burn Audible audio that is longer than one CD, you must segment the large file into parts that will fit onto multiple CDs.

Segmenting Large Audio Files

While the segment feature is not new to iTunes 3, it has not been widely used. To segment any audio file for burning, use the Start/Stop time control, located in the Song Information window for the file.

    1. Select the Audible file from the playlist.

    2. Choose Get Info from the File menu.

    3. Click the Options tab to access the Start Time and Stop Time Fields.

Setting Start and Stop Time Fields

The Original Speeches AudioBook is 4 hours, 39 minutes and 11 seconds in length. You will need to set the Start Time and Stop Time for each CD you burn of this program, to create a complete set of CDs spanning the entire program. In this example you would need at least 4 CDs.

  1. Find a natural break point in the AudioBook. Listen to audio content around the time you want to place the stop time. Ideally you want to find a natural pause such as the end of a sentence or word. Stop iTunes at this break and note the time displayed. This is the stop point for one disc and the start point for the next disc.

  2. Enter the Start time. Going strictly by the time division, the first segment could be set to end after 74 minutes, or 1 hour 14 minutes.

  3. Click Burn CD.

  4. Insert a blank CD-R disc.

  5. Click Burn CD.

  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until the entire audio content has been saved on CDs. In the example, the second segment could be set to start at 74 minutes and end at twice that length (148 minutes), or 2 hour 28 minutes.

    The third segment could be set to start at 2 hours 28 minutes and end at 3 hours 42 minutes.

    The fourth, and final, segment could be comprised of the remaining time, starting at 3 hours 42 minutes and continuing until the end.

Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012

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