Q: When I buy an audiobook on CD and want to import it into my iTunes library, adding the description of “Genre: Book” does not make it become an audiobook. It seems that only the audiobooks you buy on iTunes can benefit from the speech acceleration mode of the audiobooks. Is there anyway around this?
A: Actually, in iTunes 8 it’s quite easy to classify any audio track as an audiobook. The trick is to select the audio track in question, choose File, Get Info from the iTunes menu, and then check the “Options” tab in the track information dialog box. Under the “Media Kind” option, simply click on the drop-down where is says “Music” and change it to “Audiobook” and click OK.
This will cause your audio track to appear in the Audiobooks section in iTunes as well as allowing it to take advantage of variable-speed playback on your iPod or iPhone. Note that if you want to also have it remember where you left of playing last, make sure you also check the option to “Remember Playback Position” in the “Options” dialog.
In versions of iTunes prior to iTunes 8, this was considerably more complicated, and generally involved either using third-party software applications or manually converting your track to the AAC format, renaming it, and reimporting it into your iTunes library. If you’re not already running iTunes 8, upgrading is likely much easier.