Urgent help with synching audiobooks - bought sansa clip for son's upcoming birthday!

We just bought the sansa clip 8gb for my son’s 8th birthday which is in a few days as he listens to audiobooks all the time and we wanted something that could hold them all.  We are having sooooo much trouble getting any books onto it in readiness for giving it to him though.  I am used to the ipod and this is really vexing us.   We are using windows media player and when we download the audiobooks, we change the info so that it is in the genre audiobook rather than music and we name the cd as we want it.  If you click audiobooks on the library on the computer, it is there.  But When we synch, the audiobooks folder on the clip is empty.  Not only that, but where is has downloaded the audiobook onto the clip (in an unknwn folder), it has just listed the cd as “unknown” rather than the name we put on it. 

Would we be better off using itunes? 

If anyone can help with this, I would be extremely grateful otherwise we are going to have one unhappy 8 year old witha  useless present.

I would just like to know one thing. When you checked on the clip, was it from the computer or from the clip once you turned it on? I just want to know.

I hate all that witch-doctor stuff from using synching software. If your audiobooks don’t have copyright issues or whatever… eg. it’s just a folder of mp3’s or wma’s, you can just copy it directly into the clip audiobook folder.

I guess the clip uses tags instead of your folders to organize, so yeah… sometimes it combines a bunch of books into an “unknown” folder. This isn’t a total disaster because normally I can still find the books various chapters all in sequence (with meaningful names) in there and the clip will remember your place. And it doesn’t really change your folder structure; just the way it displays it.

You just lose the ability to bookmark within multiple books at once in "unknown’ (a trivial loss), but will still have easy access to the ones that happen to be tagged properly. 

When you say you’re changing the info., you mean you’re changing the ID3 tags, right, and not just the file/folder names?  The Clip organizes by the former only, not the latter.  Just checking …

Ok, I think this might be the problem, but I don’t know what an ID3 tag is.  I think we are just changing the folder names.  The audiobooks are coming up as wma’s not mp3’s.  Is this a problem too?

I have to say I am feeling so totally disapointed by all this.  I thought this would be a perfect present for my audiobook loving son and now feel like this clip will only work well for music which is not what we need it for.  I have all my audiobooks on my ipod and don’t have any of these issues.

ID3 tags:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id3_tag

As a general matter, the Clip (like an iPod) displays music, audiobook and podcast file information based on the files’ ID3 tags.  ID3 tags are data in the music, podcast or audiobook files that provide information about the file, often the file’s title, album/book name, author, year, and genre.  Audiobooks and music files you buy often have the ID3 tag information already there and filled in; other times, and when you rip the computer files yourself from a CD, you need to add the information into the computer files yourself–it is a simple fill-in-the-blank process.  CD “rippers” often will connect up to Internet databases and add the information in for you, as part of the ripping process; you also can add the information using a tag “editor” such as MP3Tag and The Godfather (both freeware available on the Internet) or use Windows to do so (right click on the file, choose Properties, and then go to the Details tab on Vista or choose Advanced on XP).

The Clip makes it one step easier for audiobook and podcast files:  if files or folders of files are placed in the Clip’s Audiobooks or Podcasts folders, or if the genre ID3 tag for a file is either Audiobook or Podcast, and if the file’s ID3 tags are not otherwise filled in, the Clip will use the file’s file and folder names for organization and display purposes.

And so your choices are:  fill in your files’ ID3 tags using a tag editor or Windows, or put the files in the Clip’s Audiobooks or Podcasts folders and have the Clip use the files’ file and folder names.

In the end, the Clip is just fine with audiobooks and podcasts.  You just need to set matters up.

Hope this helps–

Oh, and by the way:  like another poster above, I dislike using WMP as well.  I just find it easier to go to the folder on my computer where my files are, and copying and pasting them to the folders on the Clip. 

Message Edited by Miikerman on 06-29-2009 03:15 PM

Blooming wrote: The audiobooks are coming up as wma’s not mp3’s.  Is this a problem too? I have to say I am feeling so totally disapointed by all this.



I still guess that you don’t have a problem, only the appearance of a slight inconvenience. Just copy the files into the clip. In the clip examine audiobooks. Some will be explicitly seperate, and some (with messed up tags) will be lumped in the “unknown” category.


But don’t worry about it (at least I can’t because Mac computers don’t seem to have any utility to edit tags except in worthless fashion). Just look under unknown and all the books and chapters are reasonably organized. The problem isn’t the clip, but the tags, and you have workarounds for it.


As for other hardware, I have a $300 media tablet which has no support at all for organizing or keeping place in audiobooks or podcasts (weirdly it lets you set a bookmark but not go to it). I have an apple shuffle gen2 which recently picked up a software bug to make it totally useless for me following the mp3 articles of a very expensive technical magazine that is essential to my life. The clip is so valuable for this, I worry due to the vanishing availability of ($50) 8g models if I need a replacment.

Just summing up what everyone else is saying with my experience (since I’m a relatively new user):

WMP puts everything you sync into the MUSIC folder on the Clip.  This is a limitation of WMP, not the Clip (at least I couldn’t find any way to tell WMP to put files somewhere else).  Probably if you get the ID3 tags correct, you’d be ok with the audiobook in the MUSIC folder, but it just seems easier to manually move any book folders into the AUDIOBOOK folder on the Clip.

For what it’s worth, I’ve ripped all my audiobooks from CD (as MP3) or downloaded public domain stuff from librivox.org, so I haven’t had any issues with ownership or “rights” yet, and I do all my “syncing” in MCS mode.

I like my Clip for audiobooks (I just picked up a cheap refurb’d 2G on Woot after a tip here - thanks!  It’s working great so far!).  My 7 yr old now has full control over “my” old Clip which was actually his birthday gift from a few months ago.  He loves it, but mostly for music.

Hope you find some of this helpful!


Thank you for the information about ID3 tags.  This cleared it up for us.  We have not been able to change the tags the way you suggested in windows - the fields are greyed out and you cannot type in them.  However, we can change them from WMP and then “apply”.  Now, when we synch from WMP, it all works fine.

Thanks so much - my son will be thrilled with his present.

That’s great to hear!  Now that you have a system down, it should be smooth sailing–