I may have found a new passion: Audiobooks. While for quite some time I was rather skeptical, even when my girlfriend gave me "The Hobbit" as a Christmas present a year ago I hardly tried it. I just could not imagine sitting around and listening to someone reading a story to me.
However back then I did not have an iPod (or any other portable music player for that matter), so now - listening to podcasts most of the time I drive, walk or do my household chores - I reconsidered when I got hold of a "Glenkill" set of CDs.
My first shot was to just import them into iTunes. However that way all 5 CDs with all their tracks showed up in my "Music" library section where I really did not like them. Even though you can change the files' properties to exclude them from shuffling this was not really acceptable for me.
A colleague told me that he had found "Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes" when he was trying to do the same thing for his children's audiobooks and they served him well. However there is one slight detail that makes them (at least for now) unsuitable for me. Let's just say there is a part of the site's name that does not lend itself to a Windows or Linux user...
There are some suggestions, but most of them involve re-importing the CDs as a single file per CD into iTunes - something I did not really want to do if not absolutely unavoidable, because I consider swapping media a rather boring task.
So I went and looked for something similar to the above mentioned Apple scripts for those being stuck with the Windows based version of iTunes. Eventually I found just the right tool for the job: Mp4Box or rather its GUI front-end YAMB.
Once I had downloaded and installed it I could join all the single m4a files I already had into a single large one. The GUI is a little rough around the edges (try and re-order the tracks to see what I mean), but that's alright. After some time (the progress indicator is not really helping) I ended up with a new MP4 file that contained the concatenated tracks I had fed into YAMB.
Importing it into iTunes once the file suffix had been changed to "m4b" (the file extension for audiobooks) automatically put it into the "Audiobooks" category. I have not found out yet, if I can define chapters or bookmarks - that (and syncing it to the iPod) will have to wait until tomorrow.