Audiobooks on JAM

I also need player to listening MP3 audiobooks. Which one I should choose? Clip Jam, Clip Sport or maybe old Sansa Clip Plus. Need it while jogging.

Same question, my Zip has died. My sons have taken over my old Clip+s, and my Clip originals don’t have the storage space I’d like. I’d appreciate any recommendations on Jam vs Sport for MP3 audiobooks. I don’t use audible or DRM audiobooks.

Anything new or different that should be noted? I’ve heard the Jam no longer has a dedicated power button - does ‘press & hold’ still do a hard reset?

Thanks.

@z_paul wrote:

I also need player to listening MP3 audiobooks. Which one I should choose? Clip Jam, Clip Sport or maybe old Sansa Clip Plus. Need it while jogging.

I am glad I am not the only one out here still using MP3 audiobooks and not just streaming from a phone.  That said I am really surprised we haven’t heard more from the regulars.  I know the forums have been really helpful to me in the past.

If you love your zip and are willing to fork out the money, you can still find new in box and refurbished on e-bay and around the web.  My last one was refurbished and has given me no trouble but the one before that was new in the box and lasted 3 months, I got sansa to waranty that one but a few month later I forgot it was in my pocket and washed it…oh well.  THe thing is, the price point is way off the chart to what you pay for a jam or sport or even a zip if you bought it while it was still being manufactured.

I am seriously considering purchasing a JAM and testing it.  Worst case senario the kids have a new toy.  If I do that I will post about my results here for any who are interested.

That said, HEY GUYS, anybody out there that can give me a review?  Anybody have positive feedback on the JAM or the SPORT with audiobooks?  Or for that matter, negative feedback so I know to look elsewhere.  THANKS MUCH!

I have successfully used my Clip Sport to organize and play audiobooks copied from CD’s (public library) and from Overdrive service (also public library).  Maybe take a look at this long discussion in the SanDisk Forum.

      http://forums.sandisk.com/t5/SanDisk-Clip-Sport/Audiobooks-do-not-show-up-properly/m-p/355309#M3090

Also, there are a few common complaints by new Sport and Jam owners when attepting to use these players for their audiobooks.

   1. Slow fast-forwarding speed to advance to a distant playback point in a long file.

   2. Only one “resume” point saved per audio file (Books mode).

   3. Books mode does not accept playlists.

Thank you for the input.  I had read several of the older discussions and was hoping someone had found a fix.   I love my ZIP and have tried other players and found them lacking.  The ability to pick up where you left off on an audiobook is invaluable.  I have found players that use bookmarks but don’t simply resume in the last place you were so it gets problematic for those of us spoiled by the simplicity of the older model.  I will check out the link you noted.

thanks again

I went out & did it. It appeared to already be on the most recent firmware so I didn’t update it manually.

Here’s my long-winded review of the Jam with audiobooks:

The good:
It’s adequate for audiobooks \ *if * you
   1) load all your books into internal memory, or load them all on your uSD card (don’t put books in both places)
   2) ONLY use it for audiobooks.
If you do both of these, the only oddness you may run into is that when you finish an audiobook, it auto-starts track one again. No biggie.

The Battery life is much better than the Zip - I’ve read two 7 track MP3 books and it’s still at 40% battery (16 hours+ maybe?).

The bad:

  1. No integrated databases (internal memory + external uSD card are not combined) -
         a) In order to use the “Books” menu item, all your books must be loaded on internal memory.

     b) Any books loaded on the uSD card will only be accessible via the “Card” menu item.
     c) Same thing for the “Music” menu item, music on the card will only be available via the “Card” menu item.
     d) The “Folders” menu item is unsorted and not good for audiobooks (no attempt at bookmarking). Not recommended.

  1. Limited bookmarking capability if you use anything other than audiobooks. When you switch to any other menu item (Music, Card, Settings, etc), it forgets your last book and track. Hints:
         a) Keep the book playing if you need to go into Settings so it doesn’t lose your spot.
         b) if you need to play something else (music, radio), make a mental note, or write down, the book’s track.
         c) When it loses your bookmark, it does remember your place within the last track; as long as you can navigate back to the correct book and track, it’s capable of asking “Resume?” (In the few days since I got this Jam, I’ve already *several times* had to search track by track for the one which offered “Resume?” It can be done, but it’s annoying.)

There’s one *minor* improvement in the Jam over the Zip, the Jam’s audiobook display does show which track number you’re on. The Plus and earlier models also displayed the book’s track number, but the Zip didn’t.

  1. uSD card issue:
         This could just be me, but I’d recommend backing up your uSD card before putting it in the Jam (if there’s anything on it you value). The first thing I did was pull my audiobooks uSD card out of my Plus and stick it in the Jam. The Jam was not able to read the uSD card; in addition, the card got corrupted by the Jam, so that when I put the card back in my Plus, it could no longer read my books. I had to reformat the card and load it back up again. It’s fine now, but this situation could have been a real bummer if I didn’t have backup.

My setup:
I put all my audiobooks on internal memory in order to use my Jam’s “Books” menu item, and all my music on the uSD card. 
I customized the display to show only the options I use: I turned on Books and Card, and turned off the rest including Music, Radio, Folders, and Sport. Since I have all my music on the card, the “Music” menu item is empty anyway, so I have to access my music via the “Card” option. In this way, I avoid tabbing through a lot of unused menu options.

Notes:

I only use MP3 books (and pretty much exclusively from my library’s Overdrive collection now, no Audible).
I also audit the MP3 tags out of habit (mp3tag utility).

I’m not happy with how much the Jam has regressed from the functionality of the Zip, but it will work, and the battery is much better. For me, I don’t think my phone will ever replace a player such as this for the following reasons:

     1) my phone’s battery

     2) size factor

     3) built-in clip

If there’s a firmware update to combine the internal/external databases or expand bookmarking capability, I’d be thrilled to update my review! Let me know if anyone finds work-arounds and I’ll update it!

I’ve had a Clip Jam for maybe two years.  (I had three or four different Sansa players before it, and they died an honorable death after many, many hours of loyal audiobook service.)  At first, there were occasions when the Clip Jam would not play audiobook tracks in order, but, oddly, I could solve that problem by moving them from “Audiobooks” to “Music.”  I lost bookmarking, but I don’t use bookmarking all that much, so it seemed like a reasonable trade-off.  Over time, however, the Clip Jam lost the ability to play audiobook tracks in order no matter where I put them.  And instead of being an occasional problem, it is now an every day all the time problem.

This is not a firmware problem.  I have the latest firmware, which I reinstalled per Customer Service directions to make sure it was not just a problem of firmware having become corrupted.

Sandisk’s Customer Service says that the player and firmware are functioning properly and suggests that I should solve this problem by changing the ID3 tag on each and every track of each disk of each audiobook.  Myself, I read some long books.  Changing the ID3 tags on 168 tracks before I can even begin to read a book is a nonstarter.

After a lengthy email discussion with Customer Service, they suggested that I buy a Clip or a ClipZip.  But of course most of you are on this page because you can no longer buy the Clip or ClipZip.

Does anyone have any experience with the Sandisk Flash?  Does it work better for audiobooks?

Here are a few quick suggestions to get you started.  Maybe other Jam users will provide more detailed suggestions.

  1. Try using mp3tag software (shareware) to edit the Filenames and ID3 tags in your audiobook files. 

  2. Try using Album names (book titles) and FIlenames (chapter titles) that have unique sorting information within the first 12-16 characters.

  3. Try using track numbers from 01-99. Three digit track numbers will not sort correctly.

  4. For tracks above 99, you can try creating a “Part B” of a Book and re-start the track counting from 01.

Here is a link to the home page for mp3tag.

   https://www.mp3tag.de/en/

I also highly recommend learning how to use the mp3tag utility. It’s one of the mandatory steps I follow when copying a new book to my player and it adds maybe 15 seconds to the process, running auto-number and setting Album name/book title on all the tracks. (1. select all tracks, 2. hit “auto-number” button, 3. add an Album title, 4. hit save & you’re done.)

Sometimes those fields are already good and I’ve wasted a few seconds, but more often the books I get from the library are missing those fields (it used to be 1 out of 5 books I’d check out were missing the tags, now I swear it’s more like 4 out of 5 - are you getting your books from Overdrive?). 

With setting those 2 fields: Album name & tracks, in mp3tag, I haven’t had any problems with track sorting on the Jam.

I haven’t run into too many books over 100 tracks, but DFELD2005 gives some good pointers for that.

3 Likes

One quick addition to your excellent comments and suggestions:

While using the auto-numbering wizard in mp3tag, make sure to check the box for “Leading zeros for tracknumbers”.

This selection starts track numbering at 01, 02 etc.  With single digit numbering, the Clip Sport & Jam will play tracks in a messy order (1,11, 2, 21, etc.)

Edit to my previous post: The inability of the Jam to bookmark the current track number in an audiobook has become insurpassable. I’ve sent a request to Sandisk support requesting the feature in a new firmware (bookmarking which track number you’re on, in addition to bookmarking the location within that track), but in the meantime, I’m watching eBay for used Clip+s and Zips.

Your critical comment is appropriate. What about a quick & dirty work-around ?

    Maybe use the Options menu after listening to a book chapter to delete the chapter from the player memory ??

Thanks for the idea. It’s definitely dirty, but not necessarily quick. I’m afraid I’d delete a track I still needed and would end up needing to reload the book!

  1. My audiobooks don’t typically let me know when I’ve switched tracks. Sometimes I’ll get an older book that includes the announcement “End of track one” in the audio, but that’s the exception. 

  2. If, at some arbitrary time, like once a day, I look at my current track in the display and decide to delete all prior tracks, there’s the added complication that track list only displays the first 30 characters of the title, so it’s not convenient (ex. current book displays “The Girl Who Takes an Eye For a” for all 9 tracks). Preplanning & MP3Tag would be needed to edit the book tags so the track number is visible in order to make this “quick”. 

  

The first time you lose your track, you can visit each track, if it asks you “Resume?” that’s your track. Unfortunately, the 2nd time you try this, all the tracks that weren’t your track the first time are now 2 seconds in, and they all offer to “Resume?” Takes quite a bit longer to find the correct track. In a 50+ track book, there are lots of opportunities to lose your place - this is the kind of book that the Jam is particularly ill-suited for. (It was a 52 track, ~60 hour book that changed my mind about the Jam being “adequate” for listening to audiobooks.)

This is great information. I just tried it and am hoping this has solved this problem. Not one of the four books I just downloaded had a track tag. You are the man/woman or person :slight_smile:

*This post is about the Sandisk Clip Jam with firmware v1.13.*

I am disappointed in the audiobook playback on the Clip Jam. I have dyslexia so I read exclusively with audiobooks. I have tried many different audiobook players. So far the best one I have found is an app for android, but I don’t like draining the battery on my phone. I decided to try the Clip Jam because the Clip+ and a couple other models were highly recommended by audiobook listeners, however those products are no longer in production.

This post is my wishful thinking on how I would like the audiobook playback on the Clip Jam to function based on my extensive history of listening to audiobooks. Unfortunately it’s pretty much a major overhaul of the current firmware so the likelyhood of any of it actualy being added is slim. If anyone knows how to get it in the hands of the firmware developers though please let me know or feel free to pass it along.

Display:
When the book is playing the screen should have the author, book title, and the current track title. There should also be two progress bars, one for the total book progress and the other for the progress of the current track. (See my mock-up rendering below)

Mp3Audiobook player with comments.jpg

SD Card Integration:
Currently the books and music on the SD card do not appear in the Music or Books menus. Ideally the books and music on the device and SD card should be integrated, however if this is not possible due to hardware limitations the very least that could be done would be to have additional menus for SD card books and music. This would make it easier for those of us who frequently use SD memory to find our books.

Sorting Books:
The device does not have the ability to sort the books by author. This should be added.

Folders and Organization:
Audiobooks usually have multiple files. Keeping them organized is important especially for large audiobook collections.

  Folder structure 1) No folder organization:
      Audiobook Folder
          >Book Title (eg, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
  Folder structure 2) Some folder organization:
      Audiobook Folder
          >Author (eg, JK Rowling)
              >Book Title (eg, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
  Folder structure 3) Organized Folder Structure:
      Audiobook Folder
          >Author (eg, JK Rowling)
              >Book Title or Series Title (eg, Harry Potter)
                  >Book Title (if series) (eg, The Chamber of Secrets)

The current firmware doesn’t allow for the organized folder structure. It will just group all of the individual tracks of multiple books into one big book if you try to organize your folders this way.

The player should be able to support each of these folder structures. The Organized Folder Structure is nice because if you have an author with many books and book series’ you can keep the different series’ separate. Also if your metadata info is not present, inaccurate, or incomplete you still have the author/series info, and book title. The benefit of Folder Structure 1 is that it allows for easy drag and drop of books onto the device. However if the book doesn’t have proper metadata info for the Author/Series you don’t have that info.

Audible Folder:
The Audible folder should have the ability to be removed or hidden.

Playing a book/Resuming playback:
The current firmware will remember the position you left off on for each track, but not what track you left off on in the book.

When playing an audiobook, instead of selecting the track, selecting the Book Title (book folder) should start playing the book. For a new (not yet started) book, the tracks should start playing in order. When resuming a book that has already been started, playback should resume in the same location and on the same track that you left off on (no need to remember the track name/number). When resuming from a long break playback should back up approximately 30 seconds to give the listener a recap (this should be configurable in settings).

Bookmarks:
Bookmarking is a feature that should be added to the Clip Jam. It is useful for saving a spot in a book so that you can come back to it later. It is kind of like the preset stations on the radio.

Button Actions:
The volume, play/pause (up button), and the back/lock buttons should not change.
When playing an audiobook the right and left buttons should have the following actions;

  Right button:
    Single click- Skip forward 10, 20, or 30 second (should be configurable in the settings)
    Double click- Skip to next track (should be configurable in the settings)
    Press and hold- Fast forward until released
  Left button:
    Single click- Rewind 10, 20, or 30 second (should be configurable in the settings)
    Double click- Go to previous track (should be configurable in the settings)
    Press and hold- Rewind until released

When playing a book the options button (down button) should have the following menu structure;

  Audiobook Options
      Bookmaks
          Set Bookmark
          Go to Bookmark 1
          Go to Bookmark 2 (ect)
          Delete a Bookmark
      Playback Speed: Slow/Normal/Fast
      Audiobook Settings (Global settings, should also be available in main settings)
          Display Information: Based on metadata (if present)/Based on folder structure
              Resume Recap: 30sec/off
              Next Button (Fast Forward)
                  Single Click: 10sec/20sec/30sec/Next Track/Off
                  Double Click: Next Track/Off
                  Press&Hold: Fast Forward/Off
              Previous Button (Rewind)
                  Single Click: 10sec/20sec/30sec/Next Track/Off
                  Double Click: Track/Off
                  Press&Hold: Rewind/Off
      Mark Book as New (Resets the resume point to the beginning, Bookmarks remain)
      Delete Audiobook

@samcam wrote:

*This post is about the Sandisk Clip Jam with firmware v1.13.*

 … I have tried many different audiobook players. So far the best one I have found is an app for android…

 

Hi - Can you share what app you liked best for Android?

 

Even the older Clip+s didn’t have all the features on your wish list. You describe pretty much the ideal audiobook player. :smiley:

 

I went to SanDisk support to report the “resume playback” bookmarking issue on the Clip Jam which I thought was the most egregious regression from prior versions, and was told not to expect the Jam to work like prior versions, it’s different hardware, etc. They said they appreciated me taking the time to report it, ya-da, ya-da, but I didn’t feel they took it very seriously. MP3 players are probably considered a dying product line (although there are still a few of us who value them!), and probably developers are granted very few development dollars for their improvement.

 

For reporting my problem, I think this is where I went: https://kb.sandisk.com/app/ask/. 

 

 

@kmk_01kmk wrote:

Hi - Can you share what app you liked best for Android?

Smart Audiobook Player (link here) is the one that I use on my android phone, it is actually one of the reasons I switched from an iPhone to Android. It is the best audiobook player I’ve ever used and I love it. It has all of the features you ever wanted in an audiobook player and they even threw in a few more that you didn’t know you wanted. The free version is full featured for 30 days, after that you just have the basic features. Even though the basic version is good I do recommend purchasing the full version, I think it’s $2 and well worth it. The only problem is that it’s only for Android (not too big a deal since i’m never going back to an iPhone), but my phone is too large to exercise with, hence the reason I wanted a smaller audiobook mp3 player.

@kmk_01kmk wrote:

…MP3 players are probably considered a dying product line (although there are still a few of us who value them!), and probably developers are granted very few development dollars for their improvement.

Yeah, It seems like the only people that still use them are audiobook listeners (and there are quite a few of us). Some one should do a kickstarter for an audiobook player or even just to develop the firmware to upgrade an existing player to be optimized for audiobook playback. It probably wouldn’t be too hard for someone who knows what they are doing, there is already an opensource mp3 player alternate firmware project out there, but they aren’t really developing it anymore for new mp3 players, because of the decline in mp3 player popularity.

Since the prospects don’t look good for a decent audiobook mp3 player any time soon :cry:, I may just buy the smallest android phone I can find and use it as a dedicated audiobook player. 

I’ve done some minor investigation into rockbox (http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php?topic=51796.0). Apparently, new SanDisk players don’t have enough RAM to run a custom firmware. :cry:

@kmk_01kmk wrote:

I’ve done some minor investigation into rockbox (http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php?topic=51796.0). Apparently, new SanDisk players don’t have enough RAM to run a custom firmware. :cry:

That sucks, so much for an opensource firmware solution. :cry:

I just looked up small android phones and found one called Jelly (link here), it’s not much wider than the Clip Jam but about 1.5x longer a just about as thick. I just ordered one, I’m going to see if it’s worth it as an audiobook player with the Smart Audiobook Player app. 

That sure is cute! Be sure to post a review of it as a phone (& its battery life) when you get it! Logically, the battery must be pretty small compared to what can fit in a larger phone.