How to make your own audiobook

Can anyone recommend a OS X software for making your own audiobook?

There is a special requirement: it is supposed to work for blind people, i.e. they must be able to navigate it in order to reach any part of the book they need to hear. It seems there is a special DAISY-format for this kind of audiobooks which is not available for Macs.

I’m making a wild guess here…try recording the audiobook in GarageBand, save as MP3, then convert the MP3 in Daisy. I know GarageBand can also save in Audible and other formats, if that will help. Though I’ve never used GarageBand, I’ve heard from others that it’s great for making audiobooks.

I don’t know if this will help, but Apple has a highly regarded Mac and iOS VoiceOver text to speech feature, and a lot of resources on their website:

I made my audio files with Logic Pro X, so that part has been taken care of. Converting MP3 files to a Daisy format - this is the problem.

I don’t find anything that’s obviously for the Mac—a few Windows apps that generally seem very expensive. I’d start looking here, though:

Thanks for the link. The DAISY work seems focused on making e-books (that is, those you read on screens) accessible to the blind. Organizing the text to be compatible with screen-readers, linking it with audio, etc.

My quick (admittedly very brief) review of the home page doesn’t seem to indicate anything specifically for audio books which, by their nature, should already be friendly to the blind, since they don’t require vision for access.

Regarding macOS, an audio book is, at its simplest, just an audio file, no different from music files you download or rip from CDs. To make an Apple-friendly audiobook, record/convert your audio to AAC format, then rename the file extension from “.m4a” to “.m4b” before adding it to iTunes (or the Music app). Apple software (at least iTunes) should recognize it as an audio book. It will be grouped with other audio books and players will get the book-related features (e.g. speed control, remembering playback position, etc.) when playing the file.

Most purchased audio books I’ve seen in retail stores seem to be distributed as a collection of MP3 files (for broad device compatibility). There is usually one file per chapter of the book, with a file-name scheme that includes the chapter numbers, so the files will sort in the correct playback order.

All this having been said, if you are providing audio books for the blind (and not just for the general public), you should know about the National Library Service’s BARD system which provides audio transcriptions of books and periodicals free of charge to anybody who qualifies for access.

I don’t know what tools and specifications are required for authoring content for the BARD system, but it sounds like this is something you need to investigate if you haven’t already done so.

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Not positive it’s still available, but I’ve happily used Audiobook Builder for the Mac which is good at creating/controlling chapters. Not sure it will meet needs of the blind though…

Thanks for the advice. I’ll give Audiobook Builder a go, it seems to be working with Catalina. Once I have feedback from the blind person I’m working with I’ll let you know. (We may have some different specifications here in Germany as far as the requirements for audio files are concerned)

Re: Audiobook Builder: I managed to produce a .m4b file with 12 chapters which works nicely in Books. Since my blind customer prefers her Daisy-Player over her iPhone I am still stuck at square 1. There is an institution in Germany which offers services for blind people. I inquired with them. Let’s see what they can say.

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Most DAISY players can also play MP3 files… start by checking to see what it can handle before you spend tons of time trying to make DAISY formatted files. :wink:

Since nobody has shared the link yet, I just noticed that the Wikipedia page on DAISY includes a page that links to DAISY products, including production systems.

After clicking through some of these, I started skimming through the DAISY software pages. Although most of the apps are Windows-specific, it appears that their Pipeline suite (version 1 and version 2) are open source and Java-based, so they should be able to run on anything.

I also found an OpenOffice/LibreOffice plugin for making DAISY content from documents.

Thanks for your contributions to this issue.
The first thing I learned is that Daisy-players accept MP3-files. So no problem there.

The actual problem I have to solve is how to make this MP3-file “navigatable” if you know what I mean.

create chapters and a list of content which the user can refer to at will to listen to whatever section of the audio file he might be interested in.

This may be possible with the help of a PC program called RTFC Daisy-Generator ( Once I get Parallels up and running I’ll give it a go and will report.