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How Do I Manage My Audiobook Library In MacOS Catalina?

I have an extensive audiobook library (mostly DRM-free) in iTunes, which I actively curate (that is, I break books into chapters, combine chapters into sections, edit the metadata, etc). With Catalina, I understand this content will be moved to the Books app.

If you have played with the Catalina beta, do you know whether I will able to edit audiobooks in Books in the same manner that now is possible in iTunes? If no, any suggestions on non-Apple apps to use for this purpose, not only to edit the content, but then to play it on both Mac and iOS devices?

Thx.
—–
PJ

Comments: 40 Responses to “How Do I Manage My Audiobook Library In MacOS Catalina?”

    2 months ago

    Yes, you access your audiobooks in the Books app.

    But I’m not sure if you’ll be able to do the same things you could do in iTunes. I don’t have any audiobooks (actually, I have tons of them, but all in the Audible ecosystem).

    I did download some free audiobooks in the Books app on Catalina. You can listen to them as I’d expect, but I’m not sure what you are doing with chapters that is different.

    And I’m not sure what happens if the audiobook files are just audio files. Perhaps then they are just in the Music app. Or maybe you can choose. You may just have to wait until you get Catalina and then see.

    Liam F
    2 months ago

    You can’t edit audiobook metadata in the new Apple Books app in macOS Catalina. iTunes was better for this. Also, raw Audiobook files are moved by the system to a hidden location and there is no “Show in Finder” feature available for them. The book files do not sync in icloud either. Make sure you backup your books before upgrading to Catalina.

    Daniel Stapfer
    1 month ago

    Actually the path in the finder is: /Users/”username”/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks/Books

    Shai
    1 week ago

    This has become a bit of a pain for me as well.
    iBooks wants to transfer my extremely large audiobook library to my very small internal hard drive.
    I don’t have enough space for the transfer, so now all my audiobooks are in limbo. I can’t play them in iBooks or iTunes.

    DJ
    1 week ago

    I am having the same problem as above – large audiobook library but small hard drive. How can I direct Books to my external hard drive with my audiobooks?

    1 week ago

    DJ: It sounds like Apple didn’t expect people to have that many audiobooks. I’d call the and see what they say.

    Jeff H
    1 week ago

    I’ve got nearly 540 audiobooks at 195GB. I use metadata to sort by genre and use smart playlists to organize. A major headache for me to upgrade. For now, I keep my main machine on Mojave (10.14.6).

    Pieter
    1 week ago

    anybody knows how I could copy my audiobooks from my iMac to my iPhone? The Books App doesn’t see my iPhone and the Music App doesn’t see my audiobooks

    1 week ago

    Pieter: Have you set up syncing in the Finder? Look for your iPhone in the left sidebar of the Finder and choose it to view the syncing options (you used to do this in iTunes).

    Justin
    7 days ago

    Thank you Apple, i have 946 Audio Books, all an a 3 TB external hard drive, just installed Catalina, all going well until my available disk space is 0, for the love of god i cannot find a way to get the books app to look at the hard drive where i store an extensive collection, i bought a mac mini which has a small hard drive in December last year, wish i now had not bothered i havent even dared to launch the apple TV app as i know i have 1.5 TB of films and TV shows sitting there, ideas anyone

    7 days ago

    Justin: The TV app, like the Music app, and iTunes from before, has TV, Preferences, Files, where you can set the media folder location or simply turn off “Copy files to Media folder…” I wonder if Books obeys the setting in the Music app for this? Probably not, but worth a look.

    James B
    7 days ago

    I have 640GB of Audiobooks (so far, it’s always growing), all DRM-free. I keep my iTunes Library (1.4TB in total, not including videos) on an external 2TB SSD drive, since it would never fit on my MacMini. Some audiobooks are .m4b, but most are just mp3’s. Files are managed and sorted manually. Anytime I get a new one it always requires extensive metadata editing to fix their year of print, add cover art, etc. It sounds like Apple is finally telling me that they no longer want me as a customer

    7 days ago

    James: I wouldn’t go that far. It is just one feature in the iTunes-to-Books transition that is missing. I would take your audiobooks out of iTunes before upgrading and leave them as files on your external drive. Maybe there is another app that you can use to access them for a while?

    Nicole Green
    6 days ago

    The Audiobook/ books app in Catalina is a nightmare. I cant delete ANY book, about 1/5 of my books moved over, the rest stayed in my itunes folder. To syncing you have to go through the WHOLE list of Audiobooks in the finder window , find the book you want to select, then sync. No more syncing by collection. I have hundreds of audiobooks, like looking for a needle in a haystack to choose each title. apart from that, my Mac barely even operates now.

    Justin
    6 days ago

    Gary Rosenzweig, thanks for the info mate, your right with music and TV shows and films it behaves as before apart from the TV and films artwork but easy to sort, I cannot fathom out a fix for my audiobook collection think it will have to be different player doing some research, if can fix will post back, when find a good audiobook player that works for putting on an iPhone will let forum know.

    Alex
    6 days ago

    Same thing guys- all library I have was located on external drive. I have no idea how to mange it right now. All these updates piss me off

    brandon
    6 days ago

    same issue.

    RJ
    6 days ago

    Most of my audiobook collection comes directly from Audible. I download it to my Mac and then frequently to my iPhone to listen on the go. Three quarters of my collection although on my Mac won’t download to my iPhone. It says that I don’t have permission for that file to be on my Mac. ???

    If you have Audiobooks, wait or never upgrade to Catalina.

    BN
    5 days ago

    I have the same issue – several hundred GB worth of audiobooks all sitting on my external hard drive and I can’t find any way to point iBooks to it. I don’t think Apple thought about audiobook users very much, if at all, when they implemented this change.

    5 days ago

    RJ: If you are using Audible, get the Audible app! It is a much better way to listen and manage your books. You only need to download the one you are currently listening to, but you can access all of your books online when you want to switch.

    Gabor
    5 days ago

    I had the same issue with the permissions. Just open the drive that contains your books, make sure your permissions are set correctly, apply the correct permissions to the entire content of the drive and then follow this procedure: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203538

    Anthony
    4 days ago

    There is no way to point Catalina’s Books application to an external HD unlike iTunes and Podcast. I don’t believe it’s a mistake. I have almost 1000 audiobooks. I cannot read more than a page because of a disability that affects my sight. So this is a major problem. Audible doesn’t have a desktop app either. I lost the use of 2 major apps when I upgraded to Mojave. Apple is not the same company anymore. Sorry, Apple apologists but Apple is not the cozy cuddly company u think it is.

    LG
    3 days ago

    I need help! I got over 1000 audiobooks that I can’t access! what should I do? If I need to download an app, which one should it be?

    3 days ago

    LG: I don’t know of another app. Can you just store the 1000 audiobooks in a folder as files and only load the one you are listening to into the Books app?

    Ted
    3 days ago

    I have around 350 audiobooks and growing, a mix of DRM and open source. the breakup of iTunes has devastated me, I cannot manage my library I cannot modify metadata or sort. the loss of support for OverDrive Media Console has locked me out of public libraries. I do not want to use multiple different applications. I need to upgrade to take advantage of the new security features within the new macOS. I am scared and totally stressed out.

    Phil S
    3 days ago

    I’m so glad to realise I’m not a complete idiot and missed something obvious in Books. I can understand Apple thinking that with ebooks the location hardly matters because the files are small, but either they forgot about, or want to discourage, people trying to manage large libraries of audiobooks from other sources.

    You _can_ use Calibre to manage audiobooks just as you can use it for ebooks, but it’s not 100% at importing audio metadata. But it’s the best alternative I’ve found.

    3 days ago

    Ted: Note that OverDrive Media Console (which I just looked up) has been discontinued by the developer. So it isn’t a problem on the macOS end, it is a decision by the developer.

    Ted
    3 days ago

    Can it handle DRM’s and transferring to iPhones

    Tomas
    3 days ago

    This is a nightmare. All my audiobooks are gone, dissapeared. Mostly those, which I converted from audiobook CDs. When I try to import it again, this is even worse, every single file is added as single book. Go to hell, Apple.

    Sven
    3 days ago

    Hey guys,
    I stored all my audiobooks in iTunes on a NAS drive. Funny thing is, Books finds all the audiobooks in the old iTunes Media/Audiobooks folder and doesn’t store/copy the audiobook files on my local MacBook drive. But as by now I realized how to make different folders on the NAS for “TV”- and “Audio”-App content I just wanted to add a folder “Audiobooks” to my NAS share. But I do not have a clue how to point Books-App to that folder or other way round, move files and change library…

    Sven
    3 days ago

    Short update: I copied my iTunes Audiobooks-folder to the root of my NAS and cleared the Books library. Then I added the new folder on my NAS in hope to get Books to re-import my audiobooks to the library and still keep the data stored on the NAS – guess that was a stupid idea….now I also reduced my local hdd to 0 MB. Apple what did you do?

    Ronald Schoedel
    2 days ago

    Here’s my plan: I am loading my books into a folder on an eternal drive (I’ve got about 500 GB of audiobooks), divided into subfolders by author, all tagged correctly within iTunes. Then, I point Plex (the media server app, free of charge) to that folder as a Library. Then, I am using an app called Prologue on my iPhone, which can browse the Plex library wirelessly and download books as needed to my iPhone. Will be happy to share more details if needed.

    Trevor Ancell
    2 days ago

    What I find annoying is when you google help in transferring audio books to iPhone or iPod with the Catalina update the same mantra of using Finder to sync your device is repeated over and over…..”It does not work” Fix it please apple.

    Stefan
    1 day ago

    I have exactly the same problem. I can not access my 1.000+ audiobook external library. I hope that Apple is planning an update to fix this problem very very soon.

    joykafka
    1 day ago

    Alias to external audiobooks folder does not seem to work.

    I tried to create an alias of the audiobooks folder on my NAS and pasted this alias into the above iBook/Books folder. However, I could not import books into this alias folder or recreate the plist file based on the audiobooks inside this alias folder.

    Thia
    1 day ago

    I was prepared for the audiobooks moving over to the Books app, but I don’t like the fact that all my collections for audiobooks are gone. And my 628 audiobooks take up almost 250GB on my 1TB drive. The way I buy audiobooks, I’m going to fill my drive up quickly. Apple needs to make an easy way to fix this. I love the idea of moving the files over to an external drive… if they will let us. For now, though… I’ll listen to them on my iPad. Even though the speakers SUCK.

    joykafka
    1 day ago

    Couldn’t find a way to do that.

    Probably it’s better to leave the original audiobooks folder intact in its original place. Manually add only those needed to the new Books app for listening and sync’ing. And, manually replace them with new titles when finished.

    Otherwise, streaming directly from the online library, such as Audible cloud, could be a short term alternative.

    But honestly the purpose of breaking different types of media apart should be more better management.

    Richard Johnston
    1 day ago

    Tried to update my audiobooks on my iPhone. It failed when some audiobooks weren’t authorized on the Mac(!) and only one audiobook was downloaded. I went to the library on the Mac and was able to listen to the books so the Mac is authorized. After repeated fails and a long useless chats with Apple “Help” I found this thread. Thanks for the note about the Audible app. I’ll use that for now and hope for a better resolution later.

    Morris Tyler
    9 hours ago

    iTunes was perfectly adequate. We were promised a much better media experience with Catalina. I’m now looking at replacing my Apple machines with Microsoft products. Ones that JUST WORK. Catalina has destroyed my audiobook collection. ‘Get Info’ would help to reorganise, Tune Span to store and transfers to mobile devices by ‘drag and drop’, but they are no longer available for audiobooks. The player in Books is ridiculously small and useless. Catalina is just for Apple Music subscribers.

    Joe Harrington
    2 hours ago

    Ever since I downloaded Catalina I cannot figure out how to download an Audible Book to my iPod. Is it possible? And where can I find the instructions?

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