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I like to listen to audiobooks, but if I sync an audiobook as music I get all of the "music playback" behaviour. My WP doesn't remember where I'm at - it doesn't automatically remove listened to tracks.

Podcasts automatically behave the way I'd like my audiobooks to do so, but I don't have a URL to my local hard drive that I can use.

Is there a way to sync audiobooks as if they were podcasts?

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3 Answers 3

WP7

Yes, there is! Make sure the Zune is closed and simply change the genre property of the podcast/audiobook file to Podcast in any ID3-tag editing software (the screenshot below is captured in the foobar2000):

enter image description here

The main advantage of the foobar2000 is that it lets you modify a bunch of files at once. For example, if you click a right button anywhere in the Properties window, you can select Auto track number and it will put track numbers by the order they are located in the playlist (and sum it for you).

Zune has the tag-editing functionality too, but, apparently, changing the genre doesn't make it rebuild it's cache and recognize the file as a podcast.

WP8

I've looked into this and currently it seems to be impossible to upload/manage podcasts manually (might change in the future, if someone will find a way to read/modify mysterious SER files). Tried myself, nothing works, both genre and file structure are ignored.

Source 1 / Source 2

Tried accessing the device over plain MTP (as it was suggested in the first source), but after a day of troubleshooting, driver modification, compilation of several libraries and experiments I found out that my phone got two comm endpoints instead of three (required by the standard). My hope died at this point.

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Thanks for the answer. It seems very close. The only issue that I had was that the files didn't get synced in the right order to my phone. "07 of 22" to "22 of 22" were listed first and then "01 of 22" to "06 of 22" were listed next. Do you know how to get the ordering right? –  Enigmativity May 4 '12 at 2:17
    
I don't know what exactly is preventing Zune from playing them in the right order (double-check the track numbers), but this seems to always fix any problem: close Zune, move files to directory outside of monitoring scope, launch Zune, make sure the files disappeared from the collection, close Zune again, copy files back to their original folder and voila! (maybe) –  Olegs Jeremejevs May 4 '12 at 7:55
    
This, of course, only works for WP7x. –  Will Feb 7 '13 at 18:17
    
Updated for WP8. –  Olegs Jeremejevs Feb 8 '13 at 12:31
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In regards to the lack of support on WP8, I have to chalk it up as a failure in planning. The official word from Windows Phone Support is that there's no way to get files that aren't from the store in to the podcast section.

Windows Phone Support Answer

If you really want this feature, for now all we can do is throw three votes at it on the official feature request site.

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For WP8:

The best way to listen to audio books with WP7 was to use the built in podcast player. WP8 messed this up. But with the new version of the Desktop Application this has gotten a lot easier, although, it still requires a bit of effort. You can use the Desktop App to sync Podcast subscriptions now. As with WP7, listening to audiobooks as a podcast has been the most flexible way I have found to bookmark and play a list of MP3 files subsequently.

This process works. It isn't as easy as the process I used to use with WP7 (setting up a local podcast and grabbing it with Zune), but it is easier than the current method I have been using (uploading my MP3's to my website where I have a podcast running and then grab them using a 3rd party podcast app). Another reason I like this method better is that the WP8 native podcast app seems to work the best for bookmarking and avoiding problems.

Unfortunately, It isn't, however, as easy as just copying MP3 files to the PODCAST directory on your PC and then running the desktop sync. That would have been pretty cool. But no, it takes more than that. And no matter what I do it doesn't seem to grab the podcast art, which is too bad. But other than that it works.

Take your list of MP3 files, update the RELEASETIME field with the correctly formatted date (make the oldest date the last one you want to listen to), copy them to their own folder in the PODCAST directory on your PC, and use the desktop APP to sync. That's it. Now you have your audiobook on your phone, it will bookmark for you and play through your files in order.

Here is my process, simplified. It may sound like a hassle, but it really isn't too hard. I can do it all in a couple of minutes once I have everything in place.

I download 2 programs: Bulk File Changer and MP3Tag (both free and available on CNET). 1. Use Bulk File Changer to set the Create Date/time (it has a feature to increment one day per file). 2. Use MP3Tag to create the RELEASETIME field. 3. Use MP3Tag to copy the Create Date to the RELEASETIME field. 4. Use MP3TAG to convert the RELEASETIME field date to the proper format. 5. Copy your MP3 files to the PODCAST directory. 6. Sync with the Windows Phone Desktop App.

I would add a step to use MP3TAG to add a graphic, but it won't come across anyways. If anyone can figure out how to do this let me know.

For those who would like more details, here they are (note, once you have set this up and done it once, everything is in place to jump through it quickly next time).

  1. Set the Create Date field with Bulk File Changer (BFC) a. Download and Run BFC b. Click File/Add Files (and select all of your MP3 files) (make sure they are in the correct order, click the filename field to sort) c. Highlight the files in BFC and click Actions / Change Time Attributes d. Check Created and Add (on the created line). Set the increment to 1 Day e. Change the date (Created) to one at least X days in the past (X =number of files you are renaming). e. Check Date/TIme Sequences Mode f. Click "Do It"

  2. Use MP3Tag to create the RELEASETIME field. (only required the first time) a. Click View / Customize Columns b. Click New c. Fill in the following fields: Name: RELEASETIME Value: %releasetime% Field: %releasetime% d. Click Ok

  3. Use MP3Tag to copy the Create Date to the RELEASETIME field. (Steps a-j only required the first time) a. Click Actions / Actions b. Click the icon for New c. Call this Action Copy Create Date d. In the Actions for this item, click the icon for new e. Select Format Value and press OK f. For the Field value, select RELEASETIME g. For the format string, copy and paste this value: %_file_create_datetime% h. Click Ok. i. Click Ok. j. Click Close. k. Highlight all your Files l. Click Actions / Copy Create Date

  4. Use MP3TAG to convert the RELEASETIME field date to the proper format. (Steps a-k only required the first time) a. Click Actions / Actions b. Click the icon for New c. Call this Action Convert Releasetime d. In the Actions for this item, click the icon for new e. Select Replace with Regular Expression and click OK. f. For the Field value, select RELEASETIME g. For the Regular Expression Value copy and past the following: ^(\d\d?)/(\d\d?)/(\d\d\d\d).+ h. For the Replace Matches, copy and past the following: $3-$num($1,2)-$num($2,2)Z i. Click OK. j. Click OK. k. Click Close. l. Highlight all your Files m. Click Actions / Convert Releasetime

  5. Copy your modified MP3 files to the PODCAST directory. This is usually located under "My Music" or as a library. Create a new directory under the podcast directory that is the name of your audiobook and copy all files there.

  6. Sync with the Microsoft Windows Phone Desktop App. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/windows-phone-app-for-desktop You will notice the new version now has an option for Podcasts. If you copied the files in the right location, you will have a podcast available to sync with the same folder name. Sync it. You will now have your audio book on your phone available to listen to as a podcast! You can even pin it and have an icon that you just have to touch and it will instantly start your book wherever you last left off!

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