Audiobooks on iPod shuffle

Q: Will the iPod shuffle allow me to play both audiobooks and music?  Or will I have to decide before I sync which one I want to listen to?

– Melanie

A: To any iPod, an audio file is an audio file; whether it is voice or music, silence or noise, it’s all the same to the iPod. The iPod shuffle does play both audiobooks and music, and even retains bookmarks in audiobooks just like the other iPods do, so you’ll be able to pick up listening to your audiobooks where you left off. Be aware, however, that audiobooks won’t be automatically added to the shuffle’s contents via Autofill, the iTunes random music selection feature; Autofill skips audiobooks, at least for now.

If you manually put both audiobooks and music on your iPod shuffle, you’ll probably want to listen to it in two different ways. If you want to listen to music, then just skip over the audiobooks when they come up (either in shuffle or non-shuffle mode). If you want to listen to an audiobook, you’ll either have to find it by skipping over songs, or you could simply put it first on the iPod shuffle playlist on iTunes before you sync, so you can start listening to it by setting the shuffle to non-shuffle mode and starting it up.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.
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