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Burn MP3 or Audio CD

Last updated: May 19, 2021

What you need:

  • A copy of the files downloaded and unzipped on your computer.
  • A computer with a CD burner.
  • One or more blank CDs. Go ahead and insert one into your CD burner drive.

If you are using a source of books other than NNELS, please follow any instructions provided by that service. For example, Overdrive tells you where to find Overdrive audiobooks in their transfer Overdrive MP3 to your device tutorial.

Audio vs. Data CD

Use "audio" CDs only for older CD players in homes and vehicles, particularly those which cannot read MP3 format. For DAISY players and newer CD players, always burn the files as "data" instead of "audio". Why? An "audio" CD is time-based, which means that it will hold about 80 minutes of audio. If you have a 10-hour book, you will need a lot of CDs. A "data" CD is based on file size, and holds about 700 MB of data. Therefore, our MP3 and DAISY audiobooks typically fit onto a single disc; sometimes two are needed for very long books.

If there are too many audio tracks for a single CD, your computer will likely give you the option to burn to more than one disc.

There are a number of free programs that allow burning of audio CDs, but we will cover the ones that typically come with the computer.

Please note: some audiobooks from our partner organizations may have numerous MP3 files separated into folders. When burning a CD, make sure you move all the audio files into a single folder before you burn them: you need the MP3 files, but you need them together, not separated into folders.

In Windows

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Click on the "Burn" tab in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Set to Audio or Data CD (as explained above). If not, click on the burn options button and select it.
  4. Add files by drag and drop (from the Library or Windows Explorer).
    • If available, you might find it easier to right click on a playlist (.m3u) file in Windows Explorer and choose "Add to Windows Media Player list"
    • Then in the "Burn" tab, click on "Import playlist".
  5. Order the files (drag or right click on track) and remove any unwanted files (delete key or right click on track).
  6. When ready, click on "Start burn".

Please also see the Microsoft Burn a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player tutorial.

On Mac

If you need instructions on creating a playlist file, please see the Apple Creating a playlist file tutorial.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Create a playlist file (or click on an existing one).
  3. Go to File, then "Burn playlist to Disc".
  4. Choose your options for Audio CD.
  5. Click on "Burn".

Please also see the Apple Create your own CDs and DVDs tutorial.