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Audiobook Builder works, why isn’t it part of Garageband?

This weekend I decided to make an audiobook as I was futzing around on the computer. I had a bunch of MP3 tracks ready to go and I consider myself fairly proficient at music production from my glory days working in a studio pretending I was a rock star. How hard could opening up Garageband and importing a few tracks be?

So I created a new music project in Garageband, quickly draggged in a few tracks for a test export, and…hmmmm…no audiobook export option. I must have overlooked something. Google will solve this quickly.
“How to make an audiobook with Garageband?”seemed like an appropriate search. Hmmmm, after reading Apple discussion forums for five minutes, it appears I should create a podcast with chapter markers. But there seems to be a limit of 1 hour and 37 minutes (an apparent bug in GB 4) and it only exports as an M4a or MP3 audio file. I guess I can export a file as an M4a file and manually change it to M4b so it is bookmarkable, but Garageband clearly wasn’t intended to create audiobooks in a simple way.

Fortunately, my fourth Google result mentioned Audiobook Builder by Splasm Software, Inc. After two minutes of reviewing the simple looking product images, seeing the $10 price tag, and the available free demo, I clicked download. The application opened as expected, I hurriedly added five MP3 files and as soon as I could see it work as expected, I pulled out my credit card to cough up 10 bucks for the full version.

A more in depth review of Audiobook Builder is located at aldoblog.com. What I like about Audiobook Builder is that it works exactly as I expected. In fact, it is so simple, it feels very Applesque.

So far it has worked exactly as expected. I’ve joined over 250 files to create a three-piece audiobook over 26 hours long. I wish they’d allow me to undo chapter markings and I’ve read that the app struggles with large (1 gig) audio files. But for me, Audiobook builder is a big time saver and it more than justifies the $10 price tag.

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