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10.5: Create high-quality audio books Apps
Using the new ultra-realistic Alex voice in Leopard, you can create an audio book out of any text. Open Automator and add the following steps:
  1. Text: Get Contents of TextEdit Document
  2. Text: Text to Audio File (using Alex as the voice)
  3. Music: Import Audio Files (I use AAC encoder)
  4. [Optional] Music: Set Options of iTunes Songs -- check Remember Playback Position
  5. [Optional] Music: Set Info of iTunes Songs
  6. [Optional] Music: Import Files into iTunes -- specify playlist here
Tips: [robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
  • Currently 2.57 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (7 votes cast)

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: owlgorithm on Nov 19, '07 08:28:35AM
Or, having gotten a plaintext version of a book, you could use
say -f your_book.txt -o new_audio_book.aiff
Note that the resulting AIFF file will most likely be huge. You will want to convert this to MP3 using iTunes or LAME.

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: ferret-slayer on Nov 19, '07 08:42:19AM
Break up the book into chapters, so if you lose your playback position you won't be far off.
Chapters are a great idea so you can see where you are in the story, but don't rely on them for remembering your position.
In iTunes, select the track and

Get Info >> Options >> Remember Playback Position.

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: lstewart on Nov 19, '07 09:33:58AM
I convert AIFF files to AAC; I've had very good results creating 32kbit mono files with QuickTime's voice filtering enabled. Then you can rename the resulting files to .m4b, and iTunes will automatically add them to its Audiobooks section of your library rather than mixing them in with your music. Also, if the file is named .m4b, you don't need to set the "remember playback position", because this happens automatically.

If you put each chapter in a separate audio file, I also recommend using Join Together, as this will use QuickTime and Apple's ChapterTool (which must be installed separately) to combine all the chapters into one large .m4b file that has embedded chapter markers. Very nice for the iPod or iTunes.

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: evanvlane on Nov 19, '07 09:47:07AM

This is wonderful!

I'm dyslexic and go to a college that focuses on primary source material (for instance; reading all of Plato's Socratic dialogs rather than getting a summary of Plato out of a textbook).

This is going to help me IMMENSELY. I did a quick test on Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, and it worked wonderfully... The only issue is that the voice reader spells out anything in capitals. It's not a huge problem, only slightly irritating when the title is in all caps.

Is there a way to get Automator to set the filename as the Title for iTunes? I have the DVD of Project Gutenberg, and unless I can get it to automatically name all of them, I'm going to have a hell of a time getting them all into iTunes.

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: MartiNZ on Nov 19, '07 10:49:34AM

This is pretty cool. I thought I was "onto it" using Wire Tap Studio to schedule recording a PDF being read in Preview, but this makes it much easier.

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: alxalx on Nov 19, '07 12:52:09PM
A few tips:

1) If you want to save this Automator workflow as an application (so that you can drop your text file on it and have it automatically converted and added to iTunes) you need to add the following action at the beginning of the workflow: OPEN FINDER ITEMS (in the options choose: Open With Text Edit)

2) In the Import Audio File action, I also ticked "Delete Source after encoding" (this will remove the big .aiff file from your desktop).

3) If you want your converted audiofile to appear under the AUDIOBOOK section of your iTunes (and iPod) library, download and install the MAKE IT BOOKMARKABLE script.

Question: Does anybody know how to incorporate this script into the Automator workflow?

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10.5: Create high-quality audio books
Authored by: PizzaCake on Sep 17, '08 02:39:56AM

The downside to using the Text to Audio File built-in action is that if you modify the speed of the Alex voice faster or slower in System Preferences>Speech the built-in action defaults to normal speed speech. In order to create an audio file that respects the speed setting you need to add a Run Applescript action as follows.

1. First set up an action in Automator to get the text that you want to convert to audio. This can be Ask for Text or Get Contents of TextEdit Document.

2. Run Applescript. Paste in the following:

on run {input, parameters}
set newText to input
set userpath to path to desktop folder
set audiofile to "TexttoAudio.aiff"
set the fullpath to userpath & audiofile as text
say newText saving to fullpath
return input
end run

3. Get Specified Finder Items. Add TexttoAudio.aiff in Desktop folder.

4. Import Audio Files. Convert to AAC and delete source files

5. Import Files into iTunes

6. Set Options of iTunes Songs

7. Set Info of iTunes Songs

Convert text to speech is a great feature and well worth the small effort to set up.

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