Convert text to iTunes audio book

200805071617.jpgAfter reading a hint on macosxhints on how to create an audio file from text, because I wanted to keep reading my book while I was driving, and figured that holding the book in front of me probably wasn’t the best option, I figured the process could probably be streamlined a bit.

So, I’ve made a service which appears in the Services menu and operates on selected text. So, select it in Safari, or from an eBook in Preview (or Textedit if it’s just plain text), and click ‘Speak to iTunes Audio Book‘ to speak the text into a track in iTunes that will appear in ‘Audiobooks’.

Update: Note that Snow Leopard now includes its own built-in service to perform this function. The only difference is that the resulting audio file from the new built-in service is a plain ‘music’ track, not specifically an audio book.

Just remember to set the encoder quality beforehand, because it’s not configurable through Applescript (I recommend ‘Spoken podcast’).

Download the thing here: SpeaktoItunesAudiobook.pkg


Speak to iTunes Audiobook Service

This service will take the selected text from any application, convert it to an audio file, using Apple’s excellent speech engine, and import the file into iTunes as an audio book (bookmarkable file).

It will use the AAC encoder with the default settings. I recommend using the ‘Spoken Podcast’ setting, as a higher quality really isn’t necessary, and the file sizes are kept nice and small. Before running the service, set this in iTunes (Preferences, Advanced, Importing, select ‘AAC Encoder’ under ‘Import Using’, and ‘Spoken Podcast’ under ‘Setting’.

Service will be installed under Library/Services, in either your home folder or the system volume. Just delete it to uninstall.   Enjoy!      


I’ve used a few ideas from the excellent Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes; in particular, I figured out how to make a bookmarkable file from reading ‘Make Bookmarkable v2.4’, and how to get iTunes to encode stuff from reading ‘Quick Convert 2.7’.

Service was created from Applescript by Waffle Software’s ThisService

, , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted May 7, 2008 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    This is a great idea, thank you! Though it will, of course, never replace a fully performed and recorded audio, it could be a very useful tool for me, enabling me to run through the previous evening’s TableRappers writing each morning on my work commute.

  2. Kimet Alabust
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this but I would like to know if it runs in Windows XP, thanks again.

  3. Mike
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid not; Maybe time to get a real computer? ;)

  4. Posted July 23, 2008 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Speak to iTunes looks like a great tool! I’ve posted info on my audiobook blog about this. Thanks so much for developing a great project!

    Mary Burkey

  5. Posted March 23, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Um…I'm not sure this works properly. I selected the text of a 400k text file, selected this Service, and all I seem to get is a Speech.aiff file on the desktop. It doesn't import it back into iTunes.

    Thanks for a great tool

  6. Posted June 3, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Hi, it seems the download link is broken?

    • Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nik – Yes, I let it die for a while, because Snow Leopard includes this functionality now. But you’re the second person who’s been looking for it in the past week, so I’ve re-instated it: You can now download it again, above. Cheers!

      • Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Super, thanks! :-)

      • Michael
        Posted January 2, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        where do i put it? and how do i open it? i am using win 7