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Cybel, who compiled the first fannish audiobooks of podfic in July 2007, has been credited with coining the term, with Cybel's first LiveJournal post regarding podfic audiobooks being posted on 11 July 2007.
Cybel quickly became a prolific podbooker and had compiled over 1,700 podbooks by March 2013 for various podficcers who posted to Amplificathon. With many podbooks, she included original cover art (see Cybel for examples), thus inciting the spread of podfic cover art along with podbooks.
The term has remained in use, though it was less common as of 2021. Works tagged "podbook" on AO3 were still being posted, although the term was not a canonical tag and synned to podfic, perhaps because the archive adopted the tags "Audio Format: mp3" and Audio Format: m4b" as its standards to indicate file format.
Many podficcers also use "Audiobook" as a synonym for "Podbook".
As stated by Cybel, podbooks had several advantages over mp3s, at a time when many mp3 players had only very basic features:
Podbooks are M4bs. [...]
The benefit of having podbooks over podfics is that iTunes files them in a separate Audiobooks folder away from your songs and albums, and they don't play when you listen to and shuffle music; they also bookmark automatically and allow for chapter markers. I originally started making podbooks out of podfics for myself because it bugged me so much that they were all mushed in together with my songs. It just drove me crazy! Now they're filed in my Audiobooks folder where they belong!
For a long time, many podficcers shared in the misconception that the m4b format resulted in smaller files than mp3s for the same sound quality. However, this turned out to be a result of Cybel's lower bitrate settings when exporting a podfic into a podbook, which compressed the file.
Creating a Podbook
MP3 is the most common and universal format for audio, if you're only going to put out one file format make it an mp3. However many podfic listeners enjoy having the option to download podfics as a podbook.
What's a podbook? It's a .m4b file. If you listen to podfic on an Apple product, it'll recognize .m4bs as an audio book and will keep it separate from any music on that device and other benefits that I'm unaware of (since I don't own any Apple products).
NOW COMPLETE - FULL PODBOOK IN CHAPTER 14
- See MVP Podfic Audiobook (SGA), archived
- See Supernatural Podbook: Of Bastard Saints. archive.is
- Cybel. Podfics, Podslash, Podbooks, Trendsetting and Activism, archived. Posted to LiveJournal 17 September 2007. (Accessed 5 July 2012)
- According to Cybel's 8 March 2013 Fanlore edit.
- Cybel's LiveJournal post "Clarification: What is a Podbook and what is needed to listen to one", 16 September 2007. (accessed 17 February 2021)
- Paraka's "Podfic 101 Tutorial" Livejounal post, 07Novembre 2011. (accessed 17 February 2021)
- M_Samro's summary for "(Podfic) Code Icarus", 2020-08-09. (accessed 17 February 2021)