Updated on November 02, 2020
Many people prefer using Audible for audiobooks. But do you know that you can also get audiobooks on iTunes? And the price for the same audiobook on iTunes seems to be lower than Audible. However, just like audiobooks on Audible, iTunes audiobooks are DRM-protected as well. And Apple uses its proprietary M4B container format to store audiobook files.
For Apple fans, this won't cause many hassles because protected M4B files are naturally compatible with Apple devices. But since you've been here, you may consider giving up on Apple devices. Then it is necessary to convert M4B to MP3. Otherwise, you may be at risk of losing access to your purchased iTunes audiobooks. No worry. Here provides 5 helpful methods to effectively convert M4B audiobooks to MP3. After converting to MP3, your M4B audiobooks will be playable on any device.
Before we show you how to convert M4B to MP3, it is better to know more details on the M4B audiobook format so that you can adjust the encoding settings much wisely.
What is M4B format?
A file with the M4B file extension is a MPEG-4 Audio Book file. The .M4B extension is specially designed for labeling audiobooks purchased from Apple's iTunes Store. And it is almost identical to the M4A extension because both these formats use the MPEG-4 Part 14 container format (commonly known as MP4). The difference is that the M4B format has a bookmarking feature which makes it convenient to find the exact point you were listening to.
When it comes to audio compression, the audio in an M4B file is encoded with the AAC compression format. Also, much similar to other media contents purchased from iTunes, the M4B audiobooks are protected with Apple's FairPlay DRM copy protection system. Therefore, if you want to convert DRM-protected M4B audiobooks, remind to find a converter that is capable of removing iTunes audiobook DRM as well as converting M4B to MP3.
Best M4B to MP3 Converter for Removing DRM from iTunes Audiobook Considering there are so many M4B to MP3 converters available, perhaps you are getting lost to find the viable one to convert iTunes audiobooks. To save you more time and energy, we highly recommend you to try out TuneFab Audiobook Converter.
TuneFab Audiobook Converter is a dedicated app that is able to remove DRM from iTunes and Audible audiobooks and then convert them to MP3, M4A, and other 8 audio formats. Apart from converting iTunes M4B audiobooks, this converter also supports converting Apple Music, protected iTunes M4V videos, podcasts, and iTunes purchased songs to a more compatible audio file. Also, the conversion speed can be up to 16X faster while preserving original sound quality. Besides, all chapter information and ID3 tags will be kept in the resultant file as well.
Key Features of TuneFab Audiobook Converter
#1 Convert M4B to MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC, WAV, and other popular formats
#2 Convert M4P to MP3/M4A
#3 Convert Audible AA/AAX to MP3/M4A
#4 Efficiently convert large M4B audiobooks in batch
#5 Keep M4B audiobook chapters and ID3 tags
How to convert M4B to MP3 with TuneFab Audiobook Converter?
Follow the steps below to see how to convert M4B to MP3 with TuneFab Audiobook Converter. Even for non-techies, it's easy to operate.
STEP 1. Both Mac and Windows support this audiobook converter. Just download and install the M4B to MP3 converter on your computer.
STEP 2. Launch the converter and add M4B files by clicking on the "Audiobooks" tab from the sidebar of the main interface. Choose the audiobook you want to convert and tick the checkbox.
STEP 3. From the below of the main window, click on the "Output " tab then click the drop-down menu to select MP3 as the output format for your iTunes audiobooks.
The preset codec uses 44.1 kHz and a bit rate of 128 Kbps for 2 channels. You may change the settings according to your preferences. But we don't recommend you to set the bit rate beyond 128 Kbps because spoken word just doesn't have that much complexity in the audio. And it will be just a waste of disk space to use this setting for conversion.
STEP 4. After adjusting all the settings, click "Convert" to start converting M4B to MP3. You need to wait for a while until the M4B files are all converted. And the converted MP3 audiobooks will be classified into Music so you may manually sort it into Audiobooks.
Note: If you want to save chapter information when converting M4B to MP3, the MP3 format might not be appropriate. You'd better choose the M4A format which can store chapters. And your large audiobook can be split up into chapters just like a physical book.
M4A vs M4B
When you choose to convert M4B to M4A, you may wonder if there is any difference between M4B and M4A. Technically speaking, M4B is virtually the same as M4A. M4B is just for convenience to let iTunes or Apple apps to recognize that audio content is audiobook. Compared to M4B, M4A has better compatibility provided that many third-party apps actually cannot smoothly play M4B files.
For a detailed comparison, you may visit this article: M4A VS M4B: What's the Difference?
Although TuneFab Audiobook Converter can work with both protected and unprotected M4B audiobooks, the free trial version only allows you to convert the first 3 minutes of each file. Therefore, here we offer another economic solution to convert M4B to MP3 for free. And these M4B to MP3 converters are also perfectly compatible with Mac and Windows. If you have DRM-free M4B audiobooks, these methods should help.
In fact, iTunes has a built-in converter that can handle the M4B to MP3 conversion. If you've already had iTunes installed on your Windows PC or MAC, then this method should be your top choice to start with.
STEP 1. Launch the iTunes app. Remind that Mac Catalina 10.15 users should turn to the Books app.
STEP 2. Now open the Preferences window.
* On Windows: Click Edit and select Preferences
* On Mac: Click iTunes/Books on the menu bar and choose Preferences.
STEP 3. From the General tab, click on Import Settings… and then you can change the encoding methods.
* For Import Using, select MP3 Encoder from the drop-down menu.
* For Setting, choose Good Quality (128 Kbps), and then click OK to save all the changes.
STEP 4. Head back to Books > Audiobooks and select the M4B audiobooks that you want to convert.
STEP 5. Choose File from the menu bar and then select Convert > Create MP3 Version. Now just wait until the audiobooks are converted.
The popular and powerful VLC Media Player also enables you to convert M4B audiobooks. Let's see how it works.
STEP 1. Run VLC Media Player. From the menu bar, select Media > Convert/Save.
STEP 2. From the File tab, click on the Add button and choose your preferred M4B audiobook, and then click on the Convert/Save button to proceed.
STEP 3. A new convert window will open. Then from the Settings section, choose Audio-MP3 from the Profile drop-down menu. You may also customize a preset profile by clicking on the wrench icon.
STEP 4. On the Destination section, click on Browse to choose an output folder. And finally, click Start to get VLC to convert your M4B files.
Rather than using desktop software, perhaps you prefer online tools. Certainly, there are a lot of free online converters that are able to convert unprotected M4B files. The following M4B to MP3 online converter is one of our favorites.
STEP 1. Navigate to CloudConvert. And then click on the Select Files button to choose your M4B audiobooks.
STEP 2. When your M4B audiobook is uploaded, choose MP3 from the Convert to drop-down menu. Click on the wrench icon, and you may alter the encoding method. This online M4B to MP3 Converter even offers you options to trim your audiobook audio and adjust the volume.
STEP 3. Choose Convert to start the conversion process. When your M4B files are uploaded, wait patiently until the converted files are ready, and then you may download your audiobook in MP3 format.
Note: Other free online converters such as ZamZar, FreeConvert, and AnyConv are also useful tools that you can rely on. Simply drag and drop your M4B audiobook to the upload area, and wait for the conversion completed, these free online tools should not disappoint you.
When it comes to media conversion, FFmpeg is a feasible method that techies should not miss out on. But it can be an arduous task for newbies to add FFmpeg to Windows PC.
STEP 1. Head over to FFmpeg's official site to download the current stable build. Extract the contents from the zip file and rename the extracted folder to "ffmpeg". This step makes it easy to add it to the Windows Path. (You may google to find a more detailed guide to install FFmpeg on your computer.)
STEP 2. Open the folder where your M4B audiobook is stored.
STEP 3. In the File Explorer, press Shift and Right-click, then select Open PowerShell here from the menu. Windows 7 and 8 users should choose the Open command prompt here.
STEP 4. In the PowerShell window, execute the FFmpeg command given below.
Don't forget to replace the input.m4b file path with the actual m4b file path and output.mp3 file path with the actual mp3 destination.
Note: ffmpeg -i "C:\path\to\input.m4b" -acodec libmp3lame -ar 22050 "C:\path\to\output.mp3"
STEP 5. When the conversion is finished, you may find the converted mp3 file in your designated file path. The duration time of the conversion process is depending on the audio file size, playtime, and the tech specs of your computer.
Now you've got several tools for converting M4B audiobooks. Some tools should be helpful for Apple Books' frequent users. Even Android users can take advantage of these M4B to MP3 converters and listen to the converted iTunes audiobooks on their devices.
And compared with the popular Audible, Apple Books is convenient for people who just want a specific audiobook. It allows you to directly purchase an audiobook from its app on different devices. And it doesn't have many confusing membership plans but has regular sales. Therefore, if you haven't tried buying audiobooks on iTunes, just don't miss it.
Besides, you may have several audiobooks in M4B format but you are not about to convert all these audiobooks to MP3 at a time. For Android users, here are some audiobook apps that can directly play M4B files.
Smart Audiobook Player is a popular choice for playing M4B audiobooks on Android devices. It provides a good selection of features, including changing playback speed, bookmarking, an audio equalizer, and application widgets for the notification tray and your home screen. For audiobook playback, it smartly saves your progress so you don't have to finish one book to start another. Also, it is an amazing audiobook organizer to classify your audiobook collections much systematically.
Listen Audiobook Player is another useful Android app for playing M4B audiobooks. The helpful pitch control feature lets you change the voice of some narrators. In addition, this user-friendly player that can perfectly handle DRM-free audiobooks from sites such as Librivox, Overdrive, and DownPour. Its Folder based library automatically stays in sync with your audiobook folder. Each book should be placed in its own folder. In other words, your books can be organized within subfolders.
If you are not deciding to spend a penny, then Voice Audiobook Player should be an optimum choice. It has a clean and tidy user-interface and delivers useful features. Common options like variable playback speed, bookmarks, and a sleep timer are well functioning. Besides, the free Voice Audiobook Player is open source that can be a flexible tool for techies.
Additional Tips: If you are actually looking for a tool to separate a lengthy M4B/MP3 audiobook, or want to merge audiobook segments into one long file, you may try out Audiobook Builder, it is a program that combines audiobook splitter, audio joiner tools, and many other tools for audiobooks.
Listening to audiobooks is essentially good in enhancing information retention. When you listening to an audiobook, it immerses you in a different world. And no matter you are on a solo road trip or during your daily commute, an audiobook can always be your perfect companion.
Needless to say, after converting your M4B audiobooks to MP3, you can enjoy your audiobook collections on a lot more devices and players. Let's take a review of these different ways to convert M4B to MP3.
* Best for converting protected M4B audiobooks: TuneFab Audiobook Converter
* Helpful Desktop M4B to MP3 converters for DRM-free audiobooks: iTunes and VLC Media Player
* Free Online M4B to MP3 converters for temporary use: CloudConvert, Zamzar, FreeConvert, AnyConv
* Powerful command line that gives you more control on audiobooks: FFmpeg
Hope that helps. If you have other feasible solutions or any idea of audiobook encoding settings you finally settle on, feel free to share with us.
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