Playing audiobooks made up of several MP3 files

iOS and iPadOS

Hi everyone, So my Victor Reader Stream from Humanware has pretty much given up the ghost. This is not nearly so bad as once it could have been. I use my iPhone for almost everything the Stream used to do, such as listening to Audible content, for example. But the one thing I really liked about it was its ability to play audiobooks made up of multiple MP3 files. Provided the files are in the same folder on the SD card the stream makes this process seamless. Before I consider replacing my Stream, I wondered whether there's any way of doing the same on the iPhone? Any advice would be really appreciated.



Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Sunday, August 26, 2018

I use a somewhat janky app called MP3 Audiobook Player. The buttons are labelled, but kind of badly, and it's not very polished, but it lets you get books on there without using iTunes, which is important to me.

I found it by just downloading everything that looked remotely like it would address my needs and it was the only one that did. It also lets you adjust the speed which is fairly essential.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Sunday, August 26, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I don't think there's a simple one-click way to do this. I have imported audiobook CDs into iTunes, and there are several settings that should be adjusted before doing this. One of the steps involves putting all the CDs into one book, much like you would do with your separate MP3 files. You might try doing some web searches for things like "iTunes settings for importing audiobooks" or "how to rip audiobook CDs into iTunes". There's lots of advice out there, non of it definitive. Good luck.

Submitted by Jeff on Sunday, August 26, 2018

Voice Dream Reader (VDR) will do this. As long as the files are named sequentially, just zip them into a zip archive file and transfer that file to VDR via one of the cloud services such as Dropbox. VDR treats all of the mp3 files in a zip archive as a single book. It even totals the times for all files and gives elapsed and remaining times for the entire book, not just a single file. It remembers where you stop playback and resumes where you left off. There are also speed controls if that's important to you. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect replacement for the VRStream.

Submitted by Jesse Anderson on Monday, August 27, 2018

I second the Voice Dream Reader suggestion. Just zip all the files up, put them in iCloud, DropBox, or other cloud service, and then share them with the Voice Dream Reader app. Even better, once the books are in Voice Dream, and if you have cloud sync enabled, the book will appear on any other IOS device. I love this because all my Voice Dream content is in the cloud, and on my iPhone and iPad automatically. I too also speed up the audio. I Love this app!

Submitted by Bingo Little on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

HI all,

Very many thanks. I too am a massive Voicedream Reader fan, but I did not know about this capability. It's a bit of a shame having to zip up each individual audiobook, which seems to me slightly more fiddly than simply copying a folder containing lots of subfolders with an audiobook in each onto an SD card, but the trade-off is having them across all one's Apple devices I suppose.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

why, you don't like vlc?
no need to zip.
play entire folder or subfolder check
adjusting speed check
remember playback position check
cloud services check
play virtually any formats and much more.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In reply to by LaBoheme

I don't think anyone has said they don't like VLC. I certainly haven't said that. it's not an app with which I'm familiar but it sounds like a decent suggestion on the basis of what you say, thank you.

Submitted by Jeff on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In addition to resuming playback where one leaves off, there are 2 other important features I want in an audiobook player: an easy way to skip back in small increments (5 to 10 seconds) and elapsed/remaining/total time for the entire book/folder. Does VLC have these 2 features?

Submitted by timothy on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hi there, VLC for iOS can be used to play loads of mp3 files as playlists such as audio books in mp3 formats. the player can also play mp4 and m4a files, it is available on the app store.

I hope this helps.

Submitted by Jeff on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No, Timothy, that didn't help. It didn't address my questions. I already knew it would play those formats. But to play audiobooks, it needs some additional functionality, including the ability to resume playback when stopped in the middle of an mp3 file and the ability to skip back in small increments easily. Can it do that?

Submitted by LaBoheme on Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"In addition to resuming playback where one leaves off, there are 2 other important feature" . . .

the standard skip forward/skip backword button jump in the increment of one minute, swipe left and right for 10 seconds jump. the only problem is that the swipe gesture is only accessible if you turn vo off.

folder is not a container like mkv or indexed daisy, it will only tell you the remaining time of the currently played file.

Submitted by kool_turk on Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I use VLC in a variety of ways when I'm rewinding or fastforwarding.

When I want to go forward or back by the minute, it's easiest for me to lock my phone and use the controls on the lock screen.

If I want to move by smaller increments, when in the app, I double tap then swipe left or right.

It does resume playback, like others have said, but I'm not sure about the remaining time, I know it tells you the remaining time, but I have a feeling it's for the currently playing file.

I use to have books in small mp3 files, but I ended up joining them into one file, but that's just my preference, yours might be different.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hi Kool_Turk, when you say you double tap and swipe, do you mean that you double tap and hold and then swipe left or right, or that you double tap to bring up some sort of progress bar and then swipe? Smaller increments are something important to me in my use of the stream as I use it to learn my part in choral arrangements. It works really well for that. I think the smallest incrmenet Voicedream offers is 15 seconds isn't it?

Submitted by kool_turk on Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sorry, I should have been clearer.

It's double tap and hold, then swipe left or right.

Make sure you wait for those three little chimes before swiping, and I think it's 5 or 6 second increments, but I'm not entirely sure.

I was able to find a book to test it on, and it tells you the remaining time for the file that's currently playing, not the entire book.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thank you. that sort of increment is exactly what's needed hwen learning choir music.

I should add that since posting this topic I have managed to rehabilitate my Stream. However, it's good to know that there are alternatives out there should something befall it. Plus it's clearly something that others have found helpful too.