[thelist] formatting and compressing audiobooks for download

Jack Timmons jorachim at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 20:35:47 CST 2010

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 7:33 PM, Garth Hagerman <hagerman at mcn.org> wrote:
> Hi all
> I have a client who wants to sell downloadable audiobooks online. I've
> already built him a free site, listentogenius.com, where people can download
> mp3 files of public domain material. The longer recordings (several hours)
> on the pay site create some technical complications. We'd like to keep the
> downloads as idiot-proof and universally compatible as possible. For the
> first couple of recordings, my client has provided me with a series of
> single-chapter MP3 files. Ideally, the customer would download an archive,
> painlessly un-stuff it, play it in any player, be able to listen to as much
> of it at a time as s/he wants, and resume later from the same spot.
> I'm flummoxed as to the best compromise of these criteria. Maybe a zip
> archive of the single-chapter MP3s is the best option, but the customer has
> to stop at the end of each chapter or create a playlist. Self extracting
> archives are appealing, but is there such a thing as a cross-platform SEA?
> Some no-so-famous audio file formats (such as AAC) are interesting, but how
> universally are they supported? I tried joining the single chapter MP3s into
> one file, but there seems to be no way in that format to separate the
> chapters.

How about supplying an m3u file and instructing them to start there?
That'll build the playlist for them.

Or, you can make it all one big MP3, then split the zip files. 7-zip
does this pretty easily. Then, they can download the zip fragments one
by one and then unzip the lot to have the mp3 file.

I'd personally go with option 1. Most players support m3u files that I've seen.

-Jack Timmons
Twitter: @codeacula

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