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Old 06-26-2017, 02:35 PM   #1
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Audiobooks, Audible/Amazon and DRM

Do audiobooks from Audible/Amazon have DRM?

I am new to audiobooks, but well-versed on DRM issues with ebooks, and I'm wondering if there is an Apprentice Alf for audiobooks and Audible/Amazon I should be aware of.

I'm hesitant to start building an audiobook library if I'm going to be locked in to a specific seller or locked out of my purchases if things go awry.

Thank you!
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:53 PM   #2
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You can use aaxtomp3 to convert downloaded Audible files to mp3 files.
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Old 06-26-2017, 04:50 PM   #3
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Yes, Audible uses DRM.

I regularly use Downpour.com to buy non-DRM audiobooks, so I can recommend that site. They don't have as many books as Audible, but at least there's no need to get around DRM.
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:54 PM   #4
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I know what you mean about hesitancy to buy something that might lock you out of your purchases. Fortunately, with Audible there are a lot of options to get around DRM, depending on your platform. At a minimum, as long as you can play an audiobook, you can record that book in a different format. On the Mac platform, I have a vendor that I use that converts aax (audible's DRM format) to mp3. In general, the first thing that I do when I buy an audible book (and I have a library of around 800 audiobooks) is convert it to mp3. That allows me to put it in a playlist on my iPhone so I can listen in the car without having to worry about pulling over when a book ends and I want to play the next.
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:25 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone! I suppose it was too much to hope that audiobooks would be simpler than ebooks <sigh>. Looks like I have some learning to do.

@pwalker8 — I am indeed on a Mac. What vendor do you use for conversion, what iOS app do you use to listen, and how do you transfer the mp3 from Mac to iDevice?

Muchas gracias!
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:14 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I suppose it was too much to hope that audiobooks would be simpler than ebooks <sigh>. Looks like I have some learning to do.

@pwalker8 — I am indeed on a Mac. What vendor do you use for conversion, what iOS app do you use to listen, and how do you transfer the mp3 from Mac to iDevice?

Muchas gracias!
Hopefully, I won't violate any rules by mentioning the vendor. Since it's software you actually buy (but not from the App store) and not darknet I think it's ok.

The software is TunesKit Audio Converter, they have versions for both the Mac and Windows. I've been using them for years without any issues and with regular updates.

Which iOS app I use depends on where I'm at. In the car, I use music since that has playlist, so I don't have to take my attention off the road when a book ends. I have used both iBook and the Audible app at other times when I have the leisure to select the next book when one ends. Neither are perfect by any stretch, but they work ok. iBooks lets me order the audiobooks in a particular order, it just won't move to the next in the list when the book ends, you have to select the next one manually. Audible has the advantage that I can download over the air, so I don't have to have all my books loaded on my iDevice. I've had issues with both losing their place at times.

I just use iTunes to transfer. I load the mp3 file in iTunes and put it my car playlist. The genre is audiobook and remember to check the "remember position" under getInfo/options.

I actually only listen to mp3's in the car, and delete the mp3 from iTunes (but not from my Mac!) when I finish the book. MP3s take up a lot more space than the aax files.
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:39 AM   #7
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pwalker8

I will give it all a whirl
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
In general, the first thing that I do when I buy an audible book (and I have a library of around 800 audiobooks) is convert it to mp3. That allows me to put it in a playlist on my iPhone so I can listen in the car without having to worry about pulling over when a book ends and I want to play the next.
You can still do that with iTunes without converting from the standard aax format.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:50 AM   #9
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You can still do that with iTunes without converting from the standard aax format.
Are you saying I can use iTunes to transfer a standard aax audiobook from Audible, complete with DRM, put it in iBooks and it will work? I don't need to remove DRM or convert it to MP3 first?
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:42 PM   #10
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You can still do that with iTunes without converting from the standard aax format.
You can do that on the Mac with iTunes, but it doesn't transfer to Music. When you transfer aax format audiobooks to your iPhone/iPad/iTouch, they get put in iBook and the playlist doesn't show up in Music. It's been that way for almost two years now.
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:45 PM   #11
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Are you saying I can use iTunes to transfer a standard aax audiobook from Audible, complete with DRM, put it in iBooks and it will work? I don't need to remove DRM or convert it to MP3 first?
That is correct. Standard aax audiobooks with DRM work fine in both iBook and the audible app. The only time I listen to mp3 audiobooks is when I'm in the car, listening on music. I suspect that if my car had carplay, it wouldn't be as big of an issue for me. Since my car is a 2016, I don't see me buying a new car just to get carplay, though.
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:17 PM   #12
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... Standard aax audiobooks with DRM work fine in both iBook and the audible app ...
Interesting. Does iBooks make you sign in to your Audible/Amazon account before it lets you listen to a standard aax audiobook with DRM? Otherwise, what's the point of having DRM if you can just transfer the audiobook to any iDevice and listen to it?
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:31 AM   #13
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Interesting. Does iBooks make you sign in to your Audible/Amazon account before it lets you listen to a standard aax audiobook with DRM? Otherwise, what's the point of having DRM if you can just transfer the audiobook to any iDevice and listen to it?
You transfer to iBook via iTunes. You have to be authorized in iTunes before it will copy the audiobook to your iDevice. If you are not authorized in iTunes, then it will not only not copy the audiobook, it will also delete any audiobooks that are currently on your iDevice. I ran into that issue when I replaced my iMac a month ago. I did a restore from backup to get everything on the new iMac, but that didn't authorize the new iMac. The authorization process is a bit strange. It won't let you authorize until you try to copy a new DRM audiobook into iTunes. I had to delete a book from iTunes and then add it again to get the new iMac authorized. It doesn't check the authorization on your iDevice, so once it's on, you can play.


Just as a note, iTunes won't load non Apple audiobooks into the iCloud. The only way to copy it onto your iDevice is via iTunes. That's not true for the Audible app. You can download from Audible or use books that you downloaded via iTunes with that app. You do have to log into your Audible account to use the Audible app.

Last edited by pwalker8; 06-29-2017 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:43 AM   #14
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Thanks! Audiobooks are more complicated than I expected :/ I will start trying different approaches ...
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:31 AM   #15
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Interesting. Does iBooks make you sign in to your Audible/Amazon account before it lets you listen to a standard aax audiobook with DRM? Otherwise, what's the point of having DRM if you can just transfer the audiobook to any iDevice and listen to it?
The DRM is there to protect against all other unsanctioned devices, not iOS devices. Audible has had a deal with Apple for a long time.
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