Apple recommends iPod owners not buy audiobooks | iLounge News

Apple recommends iPod owners not buy audiobooks

Apple has confirmed that a number of recently released audiobooks being sold on the iTunes Store will not properly play on iPods. The defective audiobooks — which include top sellers such as “The Four-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss and “The Assault on Reason” by Al Gore — will reportedly play in iTunes, but refuse to play on any iPod, as evidenced by purchaser comments on the iTunes Store. Apple is now suggesting that iPod owners hold off on purchasing any new audiobooks from iTunes. After customers contact iTunes support, Apple is also reversing charges for purchased defective audiobooks.

“I apologize for this recent error with audiobooks,” an iTunes support representative said in an email to an affected iLounger. “Our engineers are aware that many audiobook files have recently been affected with this error and are working on a fix for this slight problem. I would advise to please refrain from purchasing any audiobook for at least a week while our engineering team works to implement a correction for this situation. The iTunes Store takes the quality of our audiobooks seriously and will investigate the issue with this one, but I can’t say when or if the issue will be resolved. Please try again in a few weeks.”

Related Stories



Ahh, the ugly head of DRM rears up again. This is the type of crap that can happen when digital files are locked down too tightly.

OTOH, the audio quality isn’t very good on these Audible audiobooks. Too much compression in order to achieve a smaller download file. It’s much easier to just check out the audiobook in CD format from your local library and rip it to MP3. No playability problems there.

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2007 at 11:42 AM (CDT)


No playability problems… but probably a few copyright problems.

Posted by TylerCF13 on May 29, 2007 at 11:43 AM (CDT)



No problems other than stealing you mean?

Posted by Don Trammell on May 29, 2007 at 12:11 PM (CDT)


What Stealing? I listen to it, don’t share it, and delete it when done. Much the same as timeshifting a movie or TV show on on my VCR to watch later and then deleting.

What’s difference if I listen to my legally checked out library material during the 2 weeks before it’s due or listening 2 months later when I have the time? As long as I don’t share it, the Author isn’t getting money from me anyway, unless you count the higher demand in library checkouts leading to more orders for more copies from the the library. In a sense, I AM paying for it via my taxes.

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2007 at 12:21 PM (CDT)


as long as it is for your own use i don’t see the issue either. if it’s in the library to check out, why not?

also, not that i would know first hand, but some libraries even have movies and music

Posted by hydra-calm on May 29, 2007 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


Time to start cracking down on those thieving librarians and shut down their evil sin houses of knowledge! Throw them all in jail for lending you that Harry Potter audiobook! Burn them at the stake for helping you find Agatha Cristie on cassette!!

Posted by Other Scott on May 29, 2007 at 1:05 PM (CDT)


I’m with Scott, I think he defended himself admirably. I don’t believe in copying music though.

Posted by Chewbacca on May 29, 2007 at 1:39 PM (CDT)


Are you sure the problem is DMR Scott?

Or are you just assuming?

I can make one too…All Scott’s make baseless allegations and all libraries carry every audiobook ever made.

Posted by unreal on May 29, 2007 at 2:07 PM (CDT)


Aw, man. And here I was all set to find a thread of people bashing iTunes and Apple for being a crap company with xrap software and sales practices. I have to say, I’m a bit dissapointed.

Posted by Multimoog on May 29, 2007 at 2:08 PM (CDT)


Hey, if you check out a CD from a Library and burn a MP3 to listen to on your IPod, it’s not stealing.

It’s called listening to the CD.

By the way, copying and pirating music doesn’t hurt artists, it helps promote them.

How slow can you be?

Posted by Jerks on May 29, 2007 at 2:08 PM (CDT)


If I buy an audiobook and then burn a copy for my mom, is that stealing? If it is, who should be punished? My mom, for illegally using pirated audio material or me for making it available to her? Is it not a crime if I only lend her the audiobook and then take it back from her after she’s played it three times?

If I’m driving down the street with my windows open and I’m playing an audiobook and someone on the sidewalk hears it, am I broadcasting that audiobook? Should the FCC fine me for not paying royalties?

If I check an audiobook out of a library and play it enough to memorize it and then recite the audiobook out loud to myself and/or my friends, is that stealing?

Posted by Other Scott on May 29, 2007 at 2:35 PM (CDT)


What Scott is doing doesn’t violate the spirit of the law, but technically it does the letter. IMO though, clearly the content providers are defending their licenses from unauthorized distribution—not convenience…

Posted by chashulme on May 29, 2007 at 2:39 PM (CDT)


Unreal said:
“Are you sure the problem is DMR Scott?”

I’m 100% sure it’s not the problem of DMR, but pretty well sure it’s the cause of DRM. If you read the original article, you would note that the files play OK thru iTunes, but not thru iPods. This leads me to believe that the files are fundamentally uncorrupted, but something in the DRM unlocking process to enable it to play on the iPod is out of whack.

I could see maybe that someone’s iPod firmware may be goofy, but too many reports of this have been made. For instance, check out the reviews for the audiobook of Michael Connelly’s newest Bosch mystery “The Overlook”. There’s at least 4 reviewers giving 1 star because it won’t play on iPods.

Since I’ve heard no reports of music DRM to be problematic (I just bought a few tracks over the weekend myself, with no problems), it’s safe to assume that something new that Audible and/or iTunes did with audiobooks DRM is the culprit.

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2007 at 3:26 PM (CDT)


Don Trammell needs to understand the context of the thought before posting his senseless statement, and a bit of common sense guide book. Well, hey the library should have it somewhere hopefully in audio and if he wants to pay for it by all means :)

Im with Scott on this one.

Posted by cheryl on May 29, 2007 at 3:40 PM (CDT)


that goes the same for you too tylercf13

Posted by cheryl on May 29, 2007 at 3:42 PM (CDT)


4HWW purchased from, downloaded with Mac OS X worked fine on my 2005 iPod Photo.  I have never purchased an audiobook through iTMS, only through the site and they all play fine.

Posted by Nick on May 29, 2007 at 3:58 PM (CDT)


I bought Julia Sweeney’s excellent “Letting go of God” and noticed that it never got to my iPod.

Before leaving for a trip, I dragged/dropped it from my iTunes music library into one of my playlists that gets copied to my iPod.  That made it appear on my iPod.  Maybe this is all you have to do until they fix it?

Posted by Bill on May 29, 2007 at 4:24 PM (CDT)


Hmmm, I am an iPod owner, iTunes user, and audiobook downloader. I haven’t downloaded any audiobooks lately, but I just received a “iTunes This Week in AudioBooks” email from Apple. They are recommending “The Assault on Reason” by Al Gore (among many other audiobooks). Looks like signals are getting crossed at Apple again: Don’t download audiobooks/here are some audiobooks we recommend. Thanks Apple!

Posted by Russ on May 29, 2007 at 4:54 PM (CDT)


Scott 32kbps in fine for audiobooks. I only purchase via, two books each month for the past 5 years…

I just downloaded “The World Is Flat” which is 19 hours long and about 270mb in size (3 x 90mb files) @ 32kbps,  This would be huge at 128 or 196 and wouldn’t even fit on some peoples ipods

for spoken word 32kbps is fine !

Posted by steve on May 29, 2007 at 6:00 PM (CDT)



Quality is subjective. I find 48kbs (mono) to be the minimum quality for audiobooks. There’s also the sample rate to consider too, which at 22 khz for Audible files, is too low and creates a sound too tinny and echoish to my ears. I consider 44.1 khz to be optimal.

For a quality difference check, buy the latest NPR CarTalk audiobook for $2 and compare the quality to the NPR CarTalk “Call of the Week” podcast. Worlds apart in sound quality.

I used to tape Cartalk off a boombox onto old Maxell type-1 cassette tapes to play on a walkman back in the early 90’s. That sounded better than Audible’s version.

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2007 at 6:41 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy