Keeping place in multi-track audiobooks


Q: I have bought some audiobooks from eMusic which are provided as hundreds of three-minute files, with titles numbered 001 through 233 (for example). How can I organize these in iTunes and on my iPod to facilitate playback without having to keep track of which segment I am on? Is there any way to set up a playlist that will remember my place in the sequence of files, in the same way that the “Remember playback position” will remember my place within an individual file?

Keeping place in multi-track audiobooks

– Joe

A: Although neither iTunes nor the iPod can remember your position within a playlist, they do keep track of which items you’ve listened to by setting a “Last Played Date” and “Play Count” for each item as you listen to it. Therefore, the easiest way to solve this problem is through the use of Smart Playlists to track which audio book chapters you’ve already listened to and thereby remove them from the playlist as you listen to them.

You can either start by placing all of your audiobook tracks into a standard playlist, or if they are properly tagged simply build the Smart Playlist to identify and group all of those tracks by the audiobook title, album, or artist fields. You would then specify a criteria of “Play Count” is 0 to only include those sections that you had not listened to. For example, the following Smart Playlist would select all of the chapters/tracks in a specific audiobook, excluding those that have already been played through to the end:

You would then ensure this playlist is synced to your iPod, and listen to your audiobook tracks directly from this playlist. When you finish listening to a chapter/track in your audiobook, the play count for that track is incremented, and the next time you open that Smart Playlist on your iPod, the first track listed should be the one you’re currently listening to, since the others will have been removed based on the “Play Count is 0” criteria.


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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.