Audiobooks and MacOS Catalina

Apple seems to dislike us storing things anywhere other than the internal drive, made clear by Catalina giving no choice other than to keep audiobooks and ebooks on there and not on an external drive. That’s fine if you’ve only bought five audiobooks in a decade – but when you’ve got gigabytes and even terabytes, a screen telling you to ‘free up space’ on an internal 1tb drive that’s needed for the system when your media files are quite happy sitting on their 2tb external drive, where the previous iTunes was able to access them without issues, really does have the potential to piss off many an end user. 

I’ve known about the existence of Plex, a media alternative that can run on MacOS, for years but I’m only now looking into using it because of the hideous and stupid things MacOS Catalina does with media libraries, and because there’s an audiobook app for Plex that runs on iPhone. 

I’m removing the Catalina beta (it’s stable) and restoring the previous OS and all my data from backup – a 48-hour job! I’m then going to set up Plex. I’ll wait and see with regard to how Catalina ends up. I don’t think the final release version of that monstrosity will address the growing number of complaints from audiobook listeners as Apple clearly has no interest in our own media collections being maintained – it wants us to buy ebooks, audiobooks and music all from them, and preferably rent everything (stream) instead. 

I’ve read of ‘workarounds’ that only annoy further, like ‘change the audiobooks file type to music‘. No. I’ve curated my media for decades, why should I? I wouldn’t have access to audiobook-specific features like skipping back and forth by 30 seconds or changing the playback speed. Another one is to ‘just add audiobooks in and out of the Books app in Catalina from the external drive when you want to listen to them’. Again, what a faff. No.  

Before Android and Windoze fans cackle, you’re a fool if you think all these tech companies like Google and Microsoft aren’t peas in a pod. I mean, Chrome is essentially a cloud-based system in entirety, while Microsoft is pushing the subscription model for Office. I still maintain that Android and Windoze are ugly as sin to my eyes, just my opinion, I do not like them and find Windoze in particular remains an unparalleled shit show. Android handsets look cool sometimes but that’s it where I’m concerned – and contrary to what some claim, Apple fans like its hardware for its reliability, we aren’t just going for the looks. 

I hear good things about Plex and the audiobooks app for it. It looks likely that the ‘death of iTunes’ means I’ll never go near the parts of it that have been torn asunder. Which is fine by me. 

2 thoughts on “Audiobooks and MacOS Catalina”

    • Hi there! Funnily enough, I have – I found out about Prologue at the end of last week, installed Plex and you’re absolutely right, it’s the perfect solution and means to break away from this stupid change. I hate the OS telling me what I can and can’t do with my own files. I thought they learned that lesson – eventually – with iTunes, which didn’t recognise external drives once upon a time other than for import from, but not as places to store music, TV and the rest. When it comes to file management, Catalina is ‘simple’ and a huge step backwards.

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