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Old 10-04-2015, 01:16 PM   #1
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iOS audiobook players

Since the monkey has been linking audiobook threads here, I decided to start this thread here rather than in the Apple forum. Please feel free to move it if this is not how you want things done.

As those who have read some of my past poasts may remember, I like to listen to audiobooks in my car. However, I also listen to audiobooks at work to block out the noise. Thus up until fairly recently I had a standard way of doing things.

I had two playlist that I maintain, one for the car and one for work. I also had a iTouch that I always have hooked up to my stereo in the car which is synced up every so often with the car playlist, and either my iPhone or iPad that I use to listen to whatever (sometimes audiobooks, other times podcast, music or whitenoise/nature sounds depend on what I was doing).

There are certain disadvantages, but all in all, the system worked well enough. Then when Apple introduced iCloud, things started to get tricky. Apple doesn't support audible books in iCloud and if you turn iCloud on your iOS device, you can't get non iCloud devices in a playlist. Not a big deal for the car, I just don't turn on iCloud for that iTouch.

Now, with iOS 10, audiobooks are no longer played in iTunes, but rather in iBook. Once again, not a big deal at work, but it doesn't work for me in the car. In the car, I like playlists because I have the audiobooks in the order I want to listen to them, plus it automatically moves to the next book at the end of a book. That means I don't have to take my eyes off the road, I don't have to pull over somewhere and start the next audiobook. iBooks doesn't support playlist and once a book ends, you have to select another book manually. While iBooks supports Siri, so I can just tell Siri to play a book in iBook, that means I have to remember the exact name of the book that I want to play next.

So, I've been looking for alternates. Most of my audiobooks are audible books, so an app that doesn't support audible is a non starter. I then tried the audible app, which works fine for work, but doesn't support playlists. It also seems to have problems with multi part books that I did not buy from audible (i.e. the Harry Potter audiobooks).

I've tried Undulib. It has some nice features, but no support for playlists. The most recent app that I've tried is bookmobile. The good news is that it does support an internal playlist, so I think that I'm going to give it a try. It also has all sorts of bookmarks, including automatic bookmarks when you stop a book, which makes it easier to jump from book to book.

What would I want in a perfect world? Playlists that I can create on my computer (where it's easier to browse) and download onto my iOS device and an app that will use those playlist and go from book to book, i.e. how Apple use to suppose audiobooks. I would also like everything to sync between devices.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
Since the monkey has been linking audiobook threads here, I decided to start this thread here rather than in the Apple forum. Please feel free to move it if this is not how you want things done.
Thanks for posting it in the audiobook forum. There are two forums here: one for content (Audiobook Discussions) and one for hardware, software, and tech issues (Audiobook Issues). Your topic belongs in the latter forum, so I moved it there. Thanks
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:35 PM   #3
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I'm not very technical, so I don't know if this will meet all your requirements. I like an app called SmarterPlayer, which I use on my Touch for OverDrive books and all purchased and free audio content except for Audible and Downpour, to which I listen in their respective apps.

It does support playlists. It has a lot of nice features, including bookmarks. I especially like the very granular speed options; 1.25X can be too fast for some books, but any book benefits from 1.10X, IMO. The caveat is that I don't know how well, or if, it works with Audible; I like the Audible app well enough and it's so much easier to download directly to it rather than go through iTunes that I never tried it.

At least when I got it, it was free, so it wouldn't cost you anything to try it.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting it in the audiobook forum. There are two forums here: one for content (Audiobook Discussions) and one for hardware, software, and tech issues (Audiobook Issues). Your topic belongs in the latter forum, so I moved it there. Thanks
ok, thanks
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:19 PM   #5
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I'm not very technical, so I don't know if this will meet all your requirements. I like an app called SmarterPlayer, which I use on my Touch for OverDrive books and all purchased and free audio content except for Audible and Downpour, to which I listen in their respective apps.

It does support playlists. It has a lot of nice features, including bookmarks. I especially like the very granular speed options; 1.25X can be too fast for some books, but any book benefits from 1.10X, IMO. The caveat is that I don't know how well, or if, it works with Audible; I like the Audible app well enough and it's so much easier to download directly to it rather than go through iTunes that I never tried it.

At least when I got it, it was free, so it wouldn't cost you anything to try it.
ok, thanks. I believe that I already tried smarter player.

Audible is a pretty good app, if only it supported playlist. I've sent in request to add play list support, but as far as I can tell, the request went to that great bit bucket in the sky. I never got an acknowledgement back. Perhaps I'm one of the few people who likes to put audio books in play lists.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:43 AM   #6
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Yea, I double checked. I did try smarter player. The issue is that it uses the iTunes playlist. Since audible books no longer show up in playlist in iTunes, it can't see the audible books.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:28 AM   #7
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iTunes is a PITN, so I only use it when there isn't a good dedicated app (or I'm going to run out of time before I run out of book on OverDrive). I get around the playlist issue by noting if I'm likely hit the end of a book before the end of my commute, and either I make a point of finishing it in odd moments before the drive, or if it'll last most of the trip, just switch to the news at the end. The low-tech solution. I don't know what you like to listen to, but my listens tend to be longish so it's not a major issue.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:59 PM   #9
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Still experimenting away. The most recent addition to the mix of devices is the new Apple TV. It allows me to play audiobooks if I first convert them to mp3. It also seems to recognize AAC formatted audiobooks. For some unknown reason, iTunes stopped syncing audible format audiobooks on my car iTouch for some unknown reason. Since I really need to playlist ability in the car, I hadn't updated that particular iTouch for a few versions. I got around that by using the MP3 files instead. Of course, MP3 files are much bigger, so rather than putting a bunch on it, I limited the playlist to 10 (7.2 days worth rather than the 30+ days worth I had before).

Amazon is getting a lot of customer pressure to release a version of audible for the Apple TV, especially since they already have a version for iOS and it really shouldn't be that much effort. I hope they do.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:04 AM   #10
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At what version did iTunes stop allowing the creation of playlists with audiobooks?
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:47 PM   #11
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I am not sure if this is helpful but

on a windows 10 pc i downloaded the latest iTunes and downloaded 2 books into it from audible. i made playlists, including smart playlists. At first iTunes stopped at the end of a track so the playlists did not function as playlists. I then went into "get info" and under "options" changed the type to "Music". I only did this for one file (i downloaded 2 books of two files each). The playlists function normally. iTunes should feed these playlists onto a Nano which you can use in your car.
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:35 PM   #12
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At what version did iTunes stop allowing the creation of playlists with audiobooks?
My iTouch is running 8.3, so it was actually last spring. Funny, it seems longer than that. I do know that audble books were not supported in iCloud, so after iCloud came out, I had to jump through some hoops to get my playlist of audible books on the iTouch.

Just to be clear, you can create playlists with audible books on the computer and you can sync that playlist with the iOS device, but you can't pull the playlist up in iTunes on the iOS device.
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:37 PM   #13
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I am not sure if this is helpful but

on a windows 10 pc i downloaded the latest iTunes and downloaded 2 books into it from audible. i made playlists, including smart playlists. At first iTunes stopped at the end of a track so the playlists did not function as playlists. I then went into "get info" and under "options" changed the type to "Music". I only did this for one file (i downloaded 2 books of two files each). The playlists function normally. iTunes should feed these playlists onto a Nano which you can use in your car.
I saw that work around on one of the other forums. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to play around with that.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:24 PM   #14
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I saw that work around on one of the other forums. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to play around with that.
That didn't work well for me. It caused some issues keeping track of where it was. Worked fine on my morning commute, but started the book at the beginning going home.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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At what version did iTunes stop allowing the creation of playlists with audiobooks?
I'm using iTunes 12.3 (current), and still have playlists for my audiobooks.
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