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I have a bunch of Audiobooks from Audible. I've made a complete switch from Windows to Linux but Audible do not support Linux. While there are some annoying ways around this I would like to convert my Audible books into Mp3 or Mp4 format.

Has anyone done this previously? Can anyone suggest a quick and easy way to make this conversion?

Should I go down the copy directly from the soundcard route? or is there a way to remove DRM directly from the file itself?

I have absolutely no intention of sharing these files once they are converted. I like the service audible provide, and I don't mind paying for books that I want. I just want to be able to listen too them!

  • 1
    Yes, well, that's the whole argument about DRM, isn't it? The publishers want to stop you from making copies, and you want to make copies. – Greg Hewgill Dec 19 '13 at 3:54
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    This is why I avoid all drm. – hildred Dec 19 '13 at 4:56
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    I'm not specifically looking to make copies... not exactly, what im tryinhg to do is update my portable mp3 device, which audible do not support. To do this i need to convert from an aa. format to an mp3 format... – AnythingMapping Jan 13 '14 at 20:34
  • You would need to run Windows in some fashion, but Soundtaxi does a very good job of converting Audible content to mp3 format. – Tudza White Jul 24 '14 at 10:00
  • Some 3rd party applications may be helpful, like TunesKit AudioBook Converter, Aimersoft DRM Media Converter etc. TunesKit product can strip the audible DRM directly, but aimersoft removes the DRM by recording technology. So it depends on your choice. – meeleem77 Apr 2 '15 at 3:25
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I've explored this path before and you'll find you have 2 options. You can run the Audible software under Wine, or you can run it natively inside a VM (VirtualBox) using Windows.

If you're interested in the Wine route take a look at the WineHQ page. Specifically this page, titled: Category: Main > Multimedia > Audio > AudibleManager.

Using this method you'll be extracting the .aa files out to CDs, from which you can extract .mp3 files. Your path is basically .wav to .mp3.

You can try saving an actual CD by buring them to a .iso file which you can then mount and rip down to .mp3's from there.

Because of the DRM the path is intentionally painful, making you perform various steps in a manual manner.

References

  • If things haven't changed in the last year, the audible manager now delegates burning to itunes and in my experience, itunes can't successfully span audiobooks over several CDs. But running inside a VM will make grabbing the sound output easier. – Ulrich Schwarz Dec 19 '13 at 7:52
  • so when grabing the sound output is there anyway to do it without having to play the whole audiobook? – AnythingMapping Jan 13 '14 at 20:36
  • @CecilJames - I wish, no there is not. – slm Jan 13 '14 at 20:52
  • How do we, in AudibleManager, export .aa to a CD, let alone to an .iso? – Geremia Dec 24 '14 at 17:31
  • @Geremia - it's described here: download.audible.com/help/gettingstartedcdburn.pdf – slm Dec 24 '14 at 20:11
7

There are possibilities to convert aax to mp3 on linux. It just worked fine for me with AAXtoMP3 and audible-activator.

Here is a detailed howTo

  • worked like a charm; except the last incantation should read: ./AAXtoMP3 --authcode <authcode> <aax-file>. I.e. you need to explicitly type the --authcode option. – Marcus Junius Brutus Jan 18 at 23:58
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This works:

  1. Use audible-activator once to get your activation bytes string
  2. ffmpeg -activation_bytes ACTIVATION_BYTES -i input.aax -vn -c:a copy output.mp4
    

That's it. It's also incredibly fast, converting at several thousand times realtime speed on my laptop.

  • It's fast because it simply decodes and doesn't re-encode (-c:a copy). – Geremia Apr 22 '18 at 3:11
5

Another path could be, under Windows, using a recording software (Audacity is good and free), together with a virtual cable driver (like Virtual Audio Cable, or a free alternative) to stream audio directly from the audible application to the recording software. It may take a full night, but that's a way of doing it. I think you can even record directly to a compressed format.

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    This answer could use some considerable expansion; consider adding links or further explanation as to the process you would recommend. – HalosGhost Dec 10 '14 at 1:32
  • Used exactly this method with a small realtime mp3 encoder program called Messer. Using the free VAC software as mentioned above I was able to convert my (fortunately only one!) Audible book to mp3. It did take several hours becuase it was rerouting normal playback straight into the VAC for Messer to record. Except for the re-encoding into mp3 there was no additional loss of audio quality. However, I will never use Audible again. – captcha Apr 2 '15 at 4:40
  • Have you found a DRM-free alternative to audible? I'd love to be unencumbered and keep my books on my media server for my family to use, but I also appreciate the selection available at audible. – 2NinerRomeo Aug 4 '15 at 19:09
  • Is an option, but meanwhile there are far better converter options. Please check my Answer: unix.stackexchange.com/a/374682/57118 – Alex Jan 2 '18 at 14:06
3

You can listen to your audio books online on the Audible website, this works on Linux too.

If you want to save them, I found the wine/virtual machine way quite annoying. But you can play them over the web and record them to a file. There is a fully graphical way with the pavucontrol and Audacity programs, or a pretty automated command line solution using the script from there (disclaimer: I wrote said script. It's probably buggy, but it works for me):

$ ./sound-recording-wrapper.sh t output.wav 'firefox --new-instance --ProfileManager'

then start the stream in Firefox, you won't hear it but it will go to output.wav. You can check that it's working with pavucontrol. You can use another browser or Firefox without arguments, but if you use a --new-instance and another profile than your usual one, you can still use Firefox like normal during recording (even play other sounds). Execute the script without arguments first for a full explanation of how it works.

  • Does this go through some kind of DAC? – einpoklum Nov 18 '16 at 17:44
  • @einpoklum No, it's rerouted internally in the software audio system. It records the data that would otherwise be sent to a DAC. The loopback device defaults to CD quality, if your DAC is higher quality (not likely unless you have professional audio hardware), then in theory it could record at a worse quality than if you listened directly. But the source material is probably already lower quality than CD, so it shouldn't matter. – Nobody Nov 18 '16 at 21:08
  • So the audio is decoded (or perhaps I should say decoded and re-coded) into 44.1khz 16-bit PCM? – einpoklum Nov 18 '16 at 21:13
  • @einpoklum Exactly. The loopback device defaults to s16le 2ch 44100Hz (and that's what's written to the wav file, exactly), but you can probably somehow set it to whatever you want by configuring the kernel module which this uses. – Nobody Nov 18 '16 at 21:17

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