The sitation: I've got a stack of audiobooks in MP3 format in my iTunes library, and both an iPhone and an iPod Nano.

After this question, I've changed the Media Kind for the audiobook MP3s from Music to Audiobook. This has been, overall, spectacular, as now I can resume where I was, they show up under Audiobooks, etc.

On the iPhone, it's also super convenient, since the interface shows what used to be an album with multiple songs as a single book with multiple chapters, and going into "Audiobooks" presents me with a list of books, not tracks.

The Nano, on the other hand, is a little strange. After changing the media type and re-syncing the ipod, the files in question are now listed under Audiobooks rather than Music, and the extra Audiobook features are present (resume playback and so on,) but the Audiobooks menu just lists all the MP3 tracks on the iPod in alphabetical order, ignoring whichever book/album they belong to - and doesn't seem to let me browse them any other way.

This is, clearly, a little sub-optimal. Did I screw something up? How do I get the Nano to treat the files in a similar way to the way the iPhone and iTunes does - as books with chapters?

Is there a step I missed somewhere? Do I need to reformat the iPod? Is this even possible?

(Footnote: shameless bump, since this just scored me a tumbleweed.)

6 Answers 6


Try this thread, it's the first one I've found that's seems to be on to something:

Essentially, iPod likes it's Audioboos in one large file. This means you'll need to merge your multi-file Audiobook into one large file and convert it into the .m4b format. Ipod will then keep track of your position in the file, but if you want chapters you'll need to set those too.

Luckily we're not the only ones facing this problem and tools exist for performing both operations.

There's a Freeware tool called: Chapter and Verse that can be found on lodensoftware.com

If you're willing to pay for the privilege, there is a shareware application called: Chapter Master that will place chapters in the kind of one long file Audiobooks iPod likes.

Mind you, you'll first need to convert your MP3s to M4A or M4B. This can be done through iTunes, as well as through a freeware application called: MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter.

You'll have to Google these programs, the system won't let me post more than one link.

I hope this helps,

  • Well, nice to know someone else has the same problem. :) Commented Nov 25, 2009 at 20:43
  • 1
    Be careful merging it all to one file - iPods do not seem to like audiobook files much bigger than 6-8 hours. Especially on non iPhone/iPod Touch iPods, the bigger the file the more likely it is that your iPod will spontaneously reboot and lose your place in the file.
    – JeffP
    Commented Nov 26, 2009 at 14:35

I had this problem too with my iPod nano 3G. I helped myself out by merging files to one big file (as described by ziker). But with some of these files, my iPod had a "new" problem: I could not fast-forward beyond one given point. The playback jumped over to the next file (or, when it was the last file, it just stopped).

That's why I began keeping single files, but I renamed the tracks in a way that the alphabetical order matched the chapter order. That was better, but still not very convenient.

I was positively surprised when I bought my iPod touch 2G and when I noticed that the handling of audiobooks is much better.


I haven't been able to get my iPod to list my books by album rather than by track either.

However, if you change how the books are sorted, your iPod will list the track names grouped by book. Go to 'get info' and click on the sorting tab. Type the book title into the "sort album" field.

If you do this for all of your audiobooks, the track names will no longer be sorted by track number, but instead, all tracks for each book will be grouped together.


The iPod nano 6TH Gen Touch Screen has also the same problem. Just bought it a week ago, only to find out audiobooks cannot be sorted or grouped by author or album compared to 'Music'. GREAT! This is so sweet...really looking forward to a software update.

Just created a playlist for each audiobook instead of having to convert each into audiobook format, less hassle but still THERE SHOULD BE A SOFTWARE UPDATE. Considering it's already 6th Gen, I'm disappointed...they still didn't fix the audiobook part.


There is a very simple answer! I have used it again and again!

The problem is that on your iPod, the tracks are ordered according to the track numbers FIRST, and other information like disk number, track title, or even audiobook title comes after. So if you have 10 audiobooks, your iPod will list all the Track 1's first, then all the Track 2's, etc.

The trick is to remove the track numbers so that the iPod HAS to look at other information for sorting. Here's how:

(1) First, change all of your track names to a naming convention that will cause them to be sorted and grouped in proper order. I use something like [Book Title] - D[DiskNumber] - T[TrackNumber].

For example, "TheGreenMile - D01 - T01", or, if there is no disk info, "TheGreenMile - T01". Remember to use leading zeros to ensure that all numbers have the same number of digits, so they sort correctly alphabetically. - Leading off with the Book Title will ensure that all tracks within the same book are grouped together. - The Disk and Track numbering conventions will sort the tracks within a book in the proper order.

(2) Second, go through the tracks and clear out the numbers that say Track [X] out of [N] Tracks and Disk [Y] out of [M] tracks. When this data is gone, the iPod CAN'T SORT or label tracks using this data. Instead, it must look at the track name, and as discussed in point 1 above, the track name causes everything to be grouped and sorted correctly.


My solution was to create a separate playlist for each of the book and sync and access them from iPod by playlists. This way I don't have to change anything as my iTunes library is synced with many devices and changing media kinds, merging files, removing track info will break other sync profiles.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .