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seanap
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A walkthrough for optimal Audiobook experience using Plex

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Plex & Booksonic Audiobook Guide

This guide is specifically for optimal Audiobook experience using Plex, which in it's current state only quasi-supports audiobooks. This is my method for getting the most metadata into Plex in the least amount of time. I'll be doing a deep dive into some advanced features of the tools available to us in order to get a nice, clean, and functional UI. This guide is meant to serve as a framework for fully utilizing metadata.  Everything is customizable, and easy to change.

**Note: This guide targets and has been tested on Windows systems. Most of it also works on Unix but Mp3tag only exists for Windows. For workarounds see issue #2.

Contents

Goal

Show as much metadata as possible in Plex & Booksonic.  Filter/browse/search by Narrator, Author, Genre, Year, Series, Rating, or Publisher.  Show Album Covers and Summary's. Make the organizing and tagging as quick and painless as possible.

Plex Library View

alt text


Backing up your Audible books

I plan on having a seprate walkthrough that will take you through backing up your Audible .aax files, and converting them to chapterized .M4B files. This giude will work for both mp3 and m4b files, but I prefer chapterized m4b's. Plex handles M4B metadata better than mp3's, some third party players like Prologue and BookCamp can handle the M4B chapter splits and names, and generally having less files helps plex run smoother.

In the mean time please check out this awesome guide here: http://checkthebenchmarks.com/2019/09/23/why-you-should-manage-your-own-audible-library/

For some more Software resources for Audible-centric audiobook management, including removing DRM from Audible files check out @rmcrackan's AudiobookHub

Now that you have your files, let get them in a format Plex can handle so we can stream our whole library with our firends and family.


Working folders

I have 3 working directories for my Audiobooks: *

~/Original
Folder where I keep the un-altered original audio Files
*
~/temp
Folder where I copy the audio files that need to be processed, this is the folder Mp3tag will open by default
*
~/Audiobooks
Folder where I archive my properly tagged files in the proper folder structure, this is the folder I point Plex at

Anywhere these folders are referenced, make sure to update to your specific paths

Best Practice: Tag your files before adding them to Plex.

<!-- blank line -->

(Optional) Automatically copy untagged Audiobook files to a temp folder

Optional: This step is only required if you want to preserve the original unedited Audiobook files. This is required if you are seeding torrents, for example from librivox.org. That said, this is a recommended step for everyone, just incase something goes horribly wrong with Mp3tag or copying files.

What I want to achieve with this step: (click to expand)

This Script will:

  • Check every 2min for a new audiobook in the /original folder
  • Find only files and folders added to /original since the last run
  • Filter files to just Audiofiles (mp3 m4b ogg etc)
  • Copy only the Audiofiles to /temp
  • Ignore folder structure, bring everything to the /temp/* level
  • If exists do not copy again
  • We will configure Mp3tag to open to the /temp folder by default
  • When you run the Mp3tag custom Action (installed/created below), Mp3tag will move the files from /temp to ~/Audiobook

Example:

/original
|
+-- /Book1
|   |
|   +-- book1.mp3 (Date: T-1min)
|   +-- book1cover.jpg (Date: T-1min)
|
+-- book2.m4b (Date: T-2min)
+-- book3.m4b (Date: T-1Hr)

RUN SCRIPT (every 2min)

/temp
|
+-- book1.mp3
+-- book2.m4b


This will automatically copy untagged books from

\Original
to
\temp
, which we will set as the default folder Mp3tag opens to, so all you have to do is open Mp3tag and any books that need processing will be automatically loaded. Expand and follow one of the options below for your OS.
[WINDOWS] Monitor /original folder and move untagged audiofiles to /temp: (click to expand)
  • Download, Install, and Run Dropit

  • Download Dropit settings Backup file BookCopy [v1].zip

  • In the System Tray: Right-Click Dropit > Options > Various > Restore and Open BookCopy [v1].zip

  • In the Options window, go to the Monitoring tab and edit Z:\Original with your specific folder
    Update Monitored Folder Path

  • Click Save, and OK to close the Options windows

  • Right-Click Dropit icon in system tray

  • Click Associations

    • Make sure BookCopy profile is selected in the bottom drop-down
  • Double-Click AudiobookCopy and edit 4. Destination Folder with your specific \temp folder
    Update Destination Folder
    > Test it by Copying an audiofile to /Original. Make sure it's working before moving on

[LINUX] Create a BookCopy script: (click to expand)
  • Open Notepad++
  • Create a new file and name it BookCopy.sh
  • Copy and paste the code below, update your path, and save.
    #!/bin/sh
    find /full/path/to/Original/ -type f \( -iname \*.m4b -o -iname \*.mp3 -o -iname \*.mp4 -o -iname \*.m4a -o -iname \*.ogg \) -mmin -3 -exec cp -n "{}" /full/path/to/temp/ \;
  • Edit cron crontab -e add the following line:
    */2 * * * * /bin/sh /path/to/BookCopy.sh

(Optional) Automatically convert mp3 audiobooks to chapterized M4B [Linux+Windows]

Let's face it, Large Libraries Sink Ships. Everything runs quicker, and smoother, the lower the total number of files there are to scan. Let's say you have 5000 books. If they were mp3's then you would be looking at least 100,000 files, vs 5000 m4b's. M4b's can also hold chapter data, and generally the metadata works better with Plex over mp3's.

If you use both Linux and Windows, I have a Linux script that watches your

/original
folder for newly added mp3 audiobooks and converts them to M4b files with chapters separated by mp3 file. It's pretty slick.
  • Creating and Installing auto-m4b-tool script guide
    • https://github.com/seanap/Auto-M4B-Tool#m4b-tool-automation

Configure Mp3tag

  • Install, or Upgrade Mp3tag to the latest version

Set the default folder Mp3tag automatically looks for book files in.

  • Tools > Options > Directories

  • Put the full path of the
    \temp
    directory with your untagged books in
    Favorite directory:

  • CHECK
    start from this directory

    alt text

Download my example configuration files to Mp3tag's Appdata directory

  • Download my repo by clicking Here.
    • Alternatively, click the green 'Code' dropdown button at the top of this Github page and select “Download Zip”.
  • The
    Mp3tag
    folder will be located in the zip archive. Unzip the archive.
  • Open the
    Plex-Audiobook-Guide
    folder
  • Copy (or move) the
    Mp3tag
    folder to
    C:\Users\your-username-here\Appdata\Roaming
    folder
    • Click
      Yes
      to merge/overwrite files

Edit the newly copied config files with your specific paths

  • Right click the following provided config files and OPEN WITH Notepad++
    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\data\action\1 m4b.mta
      Update lines 3, 15, 22 with the path to your Plex
      \Audiobook
      folder
    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\data\action\001.mta
      Update lines 3, 15, 22 with the path to your Plex
      \Audiobook
      folder
    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\data\action\01.mta
      Update lines 3, 15, 22 with the path to your Plex
      \Audiobook
      folder
    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\export\001 Generate.mte
      Update line 1 with your windows username
      C:\Users\your-username-here\...

    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\export\desc.mte
      Update line 1 with the path to your Plex
      \Audiobook
      folder
    • %APPDATA%\Mp3tag\export\reader.mte
      Update line 1 with the path to your Plex
      \Audiobook
      folder
Alternatively, you can manually create and configure mp3tag to your specific needs (click to expand)

Install the Audible custom web sources

  • Download the custom web source files
  • Drop the Audible.com#Search by Album.src file in your %appdata%\Roaming\Mp3tag\data\sources folder

Cofigure the Tag Panel

  • This can be manually adjusted Under Tools &gt; Options &gt; Tag Panel
    alt text

Create a custom Action that will Rename, Proper Folder Structure, and Export cover/desc/reader

  • Load an audiobook file in Mp3tag for testing, and select it
  • Click the Actions menu, select Actions (or Alt-6)
  • Click New, and Label it (eg. 01 - Filename - Folder Structure - Cover in Folder)
  • Add a New Action Format Value
    • Field = _FILENAME
    • Format String = C:\path\to\Audiobooks\%albumartist%\%series%\%year% - %album%[ '['%series% %series-part%']']\%album% (%year%) ['['%series% %series-part%']' ]- pt$num(%track%,2)
  • Add a New Action Export Cover to File
    • Format String = %album% (%year%) ['['%series% %series-part%']' ]- cover
  • Add a New Action Export
    • Click New
    • Label it desc
    • Edit the desc.mte file to only include the following two lines:
      $filename(desc.txt,utf-8)
      %comment%
  • Save desc.mte
    • Set Export File Name: as:
    • C:\path\to\Audiobooks\%albumartist%\%series%\%year% - %album%[ '['%series% %series-part%']']\desc.txt
  • Add New Action Export
    • Click New
    • Label it reader
    • Edit the reader.mte file to only include the following two lines:
      $filename(reader.txt,utf-8)
      %composer%
  • Save reader.mte
    • Set Export File Name: as:
    • C:\path\to\Audiobooks\%albumartist%\%series%\%year% - %album%[ '['%series% %series-part%']']\reader.txt

Your New Action should look like this:
alt text alt text alt text

Test

  • Put an audiobook file for testing in your
    \temp
    folder
  • Open Mp3tag and select all files for that book
  • Ctrl-k
    and set/fix the Track Numbering
  • Click the Web Sources drop down button, select Audible.com > Search by Album
    alt text
  • Click the Action drop down button, select the Action that corresponds with the number of files
    alt text
    You have three different actions to use depending on the number of files the book has;
    • For a single track, use the 1 m4b Action. This Action does not append a
      -pt01
      to the end of the filename.
    • For 2-99 tracks, use the 01 Action. It will append
      -pt01
      to the end of the filename.
    • For 100-999 tracks, use the 001 Action. It will append
      -pt001
      to the end of the filename.

Configure Plex

Install Metadata Agent for Plex

Follow the Instructions here *

https://github.com/djdembeck/Audnexus.bundle
Alternate Installation using WebTools Plex Plugin (click to expand)
  • Install WebTools 4 Plex v3.0
    • Restart Plex
    • Access WebTools at this URL
      • http://<your ip address here>:33400/
  • Install the Audiobook Metadata Agent using WebTools:
    • In the WebTools page Click UAS
    • Enter the following Manual Installation URL
      • https://github.com/djdembeck/Audnexus.bundle
    • Restart Plex

Configure Metadata Agent in Plex

  • Go to
    Settings > Agents > Artist > Audiobooks
    Put Audnexus above Local Media Assets
    alt text
  • Go to
    Settings > Agents > Albums > Audiobooks
    Put Audnexus above Local Media Assets
    alt text

Create Audiobook Library in Plex

  • General select
    Music

  • Add folders browse to your Audiobook folders
  • Advanced set the following:
    • Agent = Audnexus Agents
    • Keep existing genre's - The new agent pulls 4-6 meaningful genres but if you want to keep your existing CHECK this box
    • Album sorting - By Name (This uses the Albumsort tag to keep series together and in order)
    • UNCHECK Prefer Local Metadata
    • CHECK Store track progress
    • UNCHECK Author Bio
    • Genres = None
    • Album Art = Local Files Only <!-- blank line --> ---- <!-- blank line --> ### Workflow
      Now that the hard part of setting everything up is out of the way, this is what your typical workflow will look like moving forward: > Mp3tag can only work on one audiobook at a time.
Open Mp3tag
  1. Ctrl-a
    or, Select All tracks of an Audiobook
  2. Ctrl-k
    Set/fix the track numbers
  3. Ctrl-shift-i
    or Click the Web Source (quick) button alt text
  4. Click the Action drop down button, select the Action that corresponds with the number of files
    alt text
  5. This does not set the Title tag, which Plex uses as the Chapter Name. There are two easy options to set this:
    • Click the
      Filename - Tag
      button,
      Format String=
      %Title%
      , this will set the filename as the Chapter name.
    • Click the Action drop down, select
      Chapter %track%
      which will give you a generic "Chapter 1, Chapter 2, ..."
      <!-- blank line --> ---- <!-- blank line --> ### Tips!
      • There are two key board shortcuts that call the Audible Web Source script, which one to use depends on if the Album and Artist tags exist or are accurate.
    • Ctrl-i
      - Use if there are no tags, or if the Album/Artist tags are incorrect or contain junk data that will effect the Audible search. This shortcut will bring up the search and allow you to put exactly what you want to search Audible with, try to keep it as simple as possible with only Album and Author, you can also put the ASIN number in this dialog box to search for a specific book on Audible.
    • Ctrl-Shift-i
      Use if the Album and Artist tag look to be ok, this will bypass the search input dialog box and bring you straight to the results.
      • If the Author is also the Narrator make sure you delete the duplicate entry in the Artist field. The script automatically combines the Author and Narrator (ex.
        Peter Clines, Ray Porter
        ) in the Artist tag, which Plex uses as a "All Artists on this track" tag. Combining these tags for the Artist helps when searching Plex.
      • Try to only keep 1 cover file in the tag, when the script asks if you want to save the existing cover, say "No". If you happen to like the included cover over Audibles, in the Tag Review screen you can click the "Utils" button (bottom left) and UNCHECK "Save Image to Tag", but make sure you remember to recheck this on the next book.
      • In Plex; If the Audiobook agent matches two different books as the same book, which will look like a duplicate in Plex, Unmatch BOTH books and start by manually matching the incorrect book, then manually re-match the book that was correct.

Tags that are being set

I did a lot of digging into ID3 standards and this was the best way I could come up with to shoehorn Audiobook metadata into mp3 tags. It certainly isn't perfect, but it does work very nicely for Plex and other Audiobook apps. These can be changed to fit your particular style by editing the Audible.com#Search by Album.src file in Notepad++.

| mp3tag Tag | Audible.com Value| | ------------- | ---------------- | |

TIT1
(CONTENTGROUP) | Series, Book # | |
TALB
(ALBUM) | Title | |
TIT3
(SUBTITLE) | Subtitle | |
TPE1
(ARTIST) | Author, Narrator | |
TPE2
(ALBUMARTIST) | Author | |
TCOM
(COMPOSER) | Narrator | |
TCON
(GENRE) | Genre1/Genre2 | |
TYER
(YEAR) | Copyright Year* | |
COMM
(COMMENT) | Publisher's Summary (MP3) | |
desc
(DESCRIPTION) | Publisher's Summary (M4B) | |
TSOA
(ALBUMSORT) | If ALBUM only, then %Title%
If ALBUM and SUBTITLE, then %Title% - %Subtitle%
If Series, then %Series% %Series-part% - %Title% | |
TDRL
(RELEASETIME) | Audiobook Release Year | |
TPUB
(PUBLISHER) | Publisher | |
TCOP
(COPYRIGHT) | Copyright | |
ASIN
(ASIN) | Amazon Standard Identification Number | |
POPM
(RATING WMP) | Audible Rating | |
WOAF
(WWWAUDIOFILE) | Audible Album URL| |
stik
(ITUNESMEDIATYPE) | M4B Media type = Audiobook | |
pgap
(ITUNESGAPLESS) | M4B Gapless album = 1 | | 'shwm' SHOWMOVEMENT | Show Movement (M4B), if Series then = 1 else blank| |
MVNM
MOVEMENTNAME | Series | |
MVIN
MOVEMENT | Series Book # | |
TXXX
(SERIES)** | Series | |
TXXX
(SERIES-PART)** | Series Book # | |
TXXX
(TMPGENRE1)** | Genre 1 | |
TXXX
(TMP
GENRE2)** | Genre 2 | |
CoverUrl
| Album Cover Art | |
TIT2
(TITLE) | Not Scraped, but used for Chapter Title
If no chapter data available set to filename |

&ast;I would prefer Original Pub. year, but Audible is really bad at providing this data
&ast;&ast;Custom Tags used as placeholders, To view this tag Tools>Options>Tag Panel>New


Players:

  • iOS
    1. BookCamp - Connects to Plex, Cross Platform, NEW!
    2. Prologue - Connects to Plex
    3. Play:Sub - Connects to Booksonic
  • Android
    1. BookCamp - Connects to Plex, Cross Platform, NEW!
    2. Chronicle - Connects to Plex, limited functionality
    3. PlexAmp - Connects to Plex, Official Plex audio app, Music focused player, easy to lose your place.
    4. Booksonic - Connects to Booksonic, has a few quirks but it works
    5. Smart - Local media files only, but tons of great Audiobook specific features
      <!-- blank line --> ---- <!-- blank line --> ### Notes: Once you have mp3tag, Audiobook metadata agent, and Plex configured the work flow becomes pretty quick and painless, especially when using keyboard shortcuts.

Following this guide will also give you everything you need for a properly organized Booksonic server. While Plex doesn't really care about your folder structure beyond

/Audiobook/Author/Book/book.mp3
, Booksonic exclusively uses folder structure for it's organization and it also looks for
cover.jpg
/
desc.txt
/
reader.txt
files (automatically created with the Action script) for additional metadata.

If you have an iOS or Android device use BookCamp, it is miles better than the Plex app and PlexAmp and works on both iOS and Android.


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