How to: Audible.com

The availability of audio books at the iTunes Music Store is a marvelous improvement, but The Store doesn't have as wide a selection of material as Audible.com does, and in some cases, you'll find that the same material is less expensive on Audible.com. Luckily, you can still play Audible.com material on your iPod. Here's how:

Downloading and Playing Audible.com Files (Macintosh)

iTunes 3 and the iPod Software 1.2 Updater brought Audible.com compatibility to iTunes and the iPod for Macintosh. The feature works this way:

1. Launch iTunes 3 or 4, choose Preferences from the iTunes menu, click the General button in the resulting window, and click the Set button next to Use iTunes for Internet Music Playback.

2. Log onto the Web, and point your browser to www.audible.com.

3. When you're on the site, find something that you'd like to download (a novel, for example), and click the Add to Basket button.

4. Click the Checkout button on the page that appears.

5. If you don't have an Audible.com account, you'll be asked to set one up. Doing so requires that you submit your name and email address and that you create a user name and password. When you make a purchase, you'll be asked for a credit-card number and more-extensive contact information (street address and phone number).

6. Review the charges on the next page, and click the Proceed with Purchase button.

The purchase will be processed. After the file is processed, you'll be taken to a page that lists the order number of your purchase and provides links to My Library, a storage area for any Audible.com files you've purchased.

7. Click the My Library link.

You should see your file (or files, if you've purchased more than one).

8. Click the Get It Now button next to the file you want to download.

9. In the window that appears, select a format for the file you want to download. The Mac and iPod support formats 2, 3, and 4. Format 2 files are the smallest and the lowest-resolution (meaning that they sound the poorest). Format 3 files are larger (and sound better) than Format 2 files. Format 4 files are the largest of all and, as you might expect, are of the highest quality.

10. After you select a format, click the Download button.

Don't worry, you haven't committed to downloading the file in this one format alone. You're welcome to return to My Library and download the file again in another format (or this same format, if you like).

11. Double-click the downloaded file.

The file should open in iTunes. (If it doesn't, launch iTunes 3 or 4, and drag the file into iTunes' main window.)

12. If this is the first time you've used an Audible.com file, enter your Audible.com user name and password when iTunes asks you to do so.

After you enter that information, iTunes will log onto the Web and register your Mac with Audible.com. When you next update your iPod, any Audible.com files that you've downloaded will be moved to your iPod.

Downloading and Playing Audible.com Files (Windows)

Version 4 of Audible's AudibleManager application supports the iPod on a PC running Windows Me, 2000, or XP. Here are the steps for using AudibleManager:

1. Create an Audible.com account as I outline in the previous section.

2. Launch AudibleManager.

3. Download an audible file in format 2, 3, or 4 (the iPod doesn't support format 1 files).

4. Locate the .aa file that corresponds to the audible file you've downloaded (usually on this path: program files\Audible\programs\downloads\).

5. Drag the file into the main iTunes window. When you next update your iPod, the Audible.com file will be copied to your iPod.

Note that iTunes may ask you to authorize your computer to play Audible.com files. If so, enter your Audible.com user name and password.

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