Creating an Audio book

Hi All,

I am a newbie to this forum and this is my first post. I have a set of lengthy audio files having contents of different subjects. I like to create and publish an Audio book in much the same way as an Authored video CD/DVD with selectable chapters annotations etc, preferably as a MP3 file. Basically this finished MP3 lets any user to go to a specific chapter randomly. (I am not even aware if this is possible only with a Audio book software. If yes please educate me on that too. thanks)

I have opened the file in Audacity and created labels at the places i would have wanted and saved the project. The labels are appropriately named so these can be the chapter headings in the finished product. (Sorry i might not use the right lingo here but I am hoping i articulating correctly)

I was hoping to find an option Export >> Audio book, in the Audacity software, but there is none. I might be too naïve and dummy expect such an option. Could someone please explain how do i go about my job creating an appropriately mastered Audio book with its own indexed chapters that a user can access randomly.

At this time i have a project with a bunch of labels. Please tell me what do i do next to achieve what i want.

I went through [url]Audiobook Mastering []wiki page but did not understand a lot.

I have the ACX Plugin installed. My Audacity version is 2.4.2

thanks heaps in advance for any pointers.


Audiobooks are usually in MP3 format, but you should also keep backup copies in WAV format.

Different publishers have slightly different requirements, but most will accept work that meets the specifications laid out by Amazon / ACX.
I’d recommend taking some time reading through the ACX requirements:
(there’s a lot of information there, and it is all important.)

Feel free to ask if there’s parts you don’t understand.

please explain how do i go about my job creating an appropriately mastered Audio book with its own indexed chapters that a user can access randomly.

The [u]ACX Requirements[/u] say:

Each uploaded audio file must:
contain only one chapter/section per file, with the section header read aloud
have a running time no longer than 120 minutes

And I ASSUME you should prefix the file name with the chapter number (and optional sub-chapter), something like “01 - Johnny Goes To School.mp3”. And you can probably “tag” each file with all of the relevant metadata so your audio player software and more easily sort it.

This is similar to a digital music album - If you download an album from Amazon or iTunes, each song is a different file. Your player software allows you to play the album with the songs in-order, or to play a selected song, or to play them randomly, etc.

but did not understand a lot.

ACS has certain technical requirements for volume levels and noise -
The Filter curve knocks-out any low-frequency noise below the voice range so it reduces background noise without affecting the sound of the voice.

Loudness Normalization adjusts the RMS level (a kind-of average) to around the middle of the allowed range so you’ll have the same loudness as every other audiobook.

After Loudness Normalization, your peaks are usually out-of-spec (too high and often clipping/distorting). Limiting “pushes down” the peaks, bringing them into spec with almost no effect on perceived loudness or the RMS level. If your peaks are not out-of-spec, limiting won’t do anything.

[EDIT - ] …Since Loudness Normalization usually boosts the volume, it also boosts the background noise by an equal amount making it worse.

If you follow those steps your RMS & peak levels will pass every time!

The ACX Check tool checks/verifies the peak & RMS levels and it checks the noise.

The noise on a home recording will usually fail so you’ll have to try some of the noise reduction methods. This is where things can get tricky… Noise Reduction can introduce artifacts (side-effects) and/or if the background is too quiet they’ll reject it for too much artificial processing.

I posted a dB explainer.

As DVDdoug above, home readers have trouble passing noise. It’s hard to get used to the idea that your room noises and electronic noise have to both be 1000 times quieter than your voice. That’s what the -60dB ACX noise limit means.

I have a nice quiet room to record in, but I still have to hide the ticking wall clock in another room and wait for the Metrobus to go by.

If you miss noise by a little, you can use noise reduction tools to put you over the edge. If you miss it by a lot, the tools can create sound damage. ACX Quality Control is looking for processing damage and may fail you if they find any.


To answer your original question, Yes, so if you do as DVDdoug has indicated, then you can File > Export > Export Multiple > Name files: Numbering before Label/Track Name. This will produce a set of files which you can then access randomly. Note that there are no MP3 file standards for skipping to chapters. But…

As steve, DVDdoug and koz have indicated, this will NOT get you into the publishing world. There are many other hurdles - AND they will help you with them!

Good luck! :smiley:

I have a set of lengthy audio files having contents of different subjects.

I don’t think you’re a good fit for Audible/ACX Audiobooks. They will not publish works until they are published on paper or eBook on Amazon. So unless I can buy your works on Amazon right now, that’s the end of the world.


I like to create and publish an Audio book in much the same way as an Authored video CD/DVD with selectable chapters annotations etc, preferably as a MP3 file.

I’m having a hard time digging up a form other than CD/DVD which will do that. Apple iTunes has Playlists which are perfect, but iTunes is being slowly phased out in favor of The Dreaded Subscription Model.

I think I could program a web page to do that.

I think you can do that on YouTube. I’ve seen audio productions where you see a still frame with the sound playing underneath. You can certainly get YouTube “chapters” to follow each other and you can skip ahead and back up with the video listings on the side.

Getting YouTube to pay you might be harder.


Here are a couple links to programs that might still work for audio book creation. I think they rely on iTunes for conversion of audio files:

Chapter and Verse seems interesting. I read down through their description. As near as I can tell, it’s for one person to arrange their work in audiobook form. It’s not a transport system to create a product for other people. Further: “Chapter and Verse is freeware for personal use.”

I like to create and publish

There is no “Publish.”

As we go.


Markable seems to be determined to make iTunes easier to use. It’s not that bad right on its own.

This is an iTunes display.

The playlist (book) is on the left. The songs (chapters) are down the middle with notes, and time/progress is the slider bar along the top. You can push the slider bar anywhere in the song (chapter) and the songs will automatically scroll the list top to bottom.

You can pull that over to any iPod or iPhone and they will play just like that.

Correct me, but that’s 100% of what you wanted. Last I looked, it was possible to use iTunes on Windows. So we’re done.

You do have to struggle past the alphabetic file restrictions when you distribute the show, but you can get around that with clever filename manipulation.




I’d be shocked if you couldn’t do something like that in Windows Media.


WAV has cue points and associated play list and data list and you can store XMP metadata in it. In theory you could create a full radio play with chapters, sections, menu and subtitles. But there’s probably no player that makes use of it, or editor?

There seems to be no audiobook format like epub. Store flacs or mp3s in a sqlite database with associated menu, tags, book text(epub?), artwork etc. You could even have fun with alternative story lines etc.

EDIT: EPUB3 supports audio, so you could publish an audio-epub book.

EPUB3 may be a solution and worth investigating. They do mention “media,” but their main idea seems to be print-related. The give-away is emphasis on “documents, style sheets, images, and fonts.” Very few audiobook presentation systems are concerned with fonts.

It is a publication format, and as such it specifies and documents a host of things that publications need to include—content documents, style sheets, images, media, scripts, fonts, and more, as discussed in detail in the other chapters of this book. In fact, EPUB is sometimes thought of as “a website in a box,” though it is actually much more than that. – EPUB3 Best Practices, 2013, O’Reilly.

That and they do note this is a good way to prepare your work for an ebook reader.

There’s no shortage of information and publications available.


Yes, it is. But it also is just HTML5, CSS, Javascript SVG etc. So a book can consist of html pages with javascript audio/mediaplayers per chapter. The indices etc. are all html. Iirc you can even link to specific part of a track. Have not tried it, you could also generate a html playlist kind of thing and have only one embedded player. Don’t know weather the ebook reader will remember the last part you heard. It does so for text.
Worth a try imo.

it also is just HTML5, CSS, Javascript SVG etc.

Which loops back to something I said near the top. This sounds a lot like a fancy web page.


You got up this morning as Producer, Recording Engineer, and Performer. You’re going to bed a Manufacturer, Promotion and Publicity Manager, and Marketer/Sales Staff.

There’s an all-hands meeting in the conference room this afternoon. I’ll prepare the coffee cup.


Wow so many replies in the space of 3 days. Thanks to all of you for the kind replies.
From the replies, it appears you experts recommend exporting multiple files is the way to go.
Will export each label as a file and choose export multiple. I will try making do with Markable and reply.

The content i am working with, is a closed domain material. So if ACX or similar other hosts wont entertain me, I am fine with it.
I can distribute my content over google drive and the users can download a copy and keep going with it.
Also my content is, ‘not for profit’ so i can understand and fine with it if commercial providers wont entertain me.

Once again, thanks heaps for the replies, despite the holiday season. Appreciate your time. :slight_smile: :smiley:
Makes me very happy to know, there is a helpful forum i can come back to on this.

Will post shortly on Markable as to how did i go with.

Kind regards, guppeey

Wow so many replies in the space of 3 days.

Active elves over nine time zones will do that.

if ACX or similar other hosts wont entertain me

I can’t speak for other hosts, but that ACX thing is relatively recent. They used to allow sample chapter submissions and full quality control evaluation. Then The Sickness happened, everybody with a pulse decided to read for audiobooks and half the staff called in sick. So much for free evaluations on non-published works.

There is an ACX-related caution. Do Not keep your master works in MP3. Use Perfect quality WAV masters and work from them. Make the MP3 submissions just before you post them on-line.

Be able to point to two different places that have your WAV masters. For example, your internal drive and the cloud (pointing up). Internal drive and thumb drives (pointing to right-hand vest pocket), internal drives and external drives (pointing to the portable drive on the credenza), etc.

Two different folders on your internal drive does not count. If your internal drive fails, that’s all your work, gone.

Also, the obsessive engineer wants you to export WAV copies of your readings as you complete each one, before editing. Count the number of forum posters whose show was permanently destroyed during editing.


There is an odd caution here. Audacity doesn’t get along with cloud drives. Do Not use cloud drives for anything in the production process. A cloud drive may look like an ordinary drive on your machine, but it’s not. Audacity needs a firm, quick, accurate connection to its drives, not a slow, sloppy internet connection.

It doesn’t matter what the advertising says. Cloud drives are subject to internet re-direction, error correction, delays, and re-tries. That’s how the internet works. You can even get into trouble if your “cloud drive” is in your house. Do Not do production on the “server farm” in your third bedroom.