Update: May 14, 2016. Well, ten years later and this Free method to remove DRM from Audible AA files and convert to MP3 still works. The links to the necessary files in the post below are still valid. Please feel free to contact me through the comment section if you need help.
Use these simple instructions to easily convert audible .AA files to (non-DRM) MP3 files so that you can play the MP3 files on any MP3 player. This article describes where to get the special file you need to perform this easy audible .AA conversion to MP3. [As of May 2016, you will find Goldwave 5.52 and other versions at this link]
Goldwave, is simply an audio conversion program. It requires the audible Codecs to perform the conversion, but is not distributed with them, so the audible Manager software must be installed before Goldwave can open an audible .AA audio file.
UPDATE: Newer versions of the audible and Goldwave programs have been released since I last revised this article a few years ago. So, here is one important distinction between the old instructions and the new instructions: You must to install an obsolete audible file called “audibleMediaPlayerFilter.exe“ This is the “secret” of this method and your conversion won’t work without audibleMediaPlayerFilter installed. You can use a search engine like Google to search for “audibleMediaPlayer.exe” or you might be able to download it from this link.
UPDATE: Important notes about the audible Manager software: This method to convert audible .AA files to MP3 was successful with audibleManager version 22.214.171.124 which was the latest version as of 5/22/2009. It also worked with every other version of audible software I tried and I suspect it will work with all versions of audibleManager software. When installing the audible software, be sure to select audible’s “Listen on my Computer” option so that the correct files are installed by audible for the Windows Media player. If you’re able to listen to your audible files in the Windows Media Player, then your audible Manager is installed correctly.
UPDATE: Important notes about the Goldwave software: This method to convert audible .AA files to MP3 was successful with GoldwaveaudibleManager version 5.52 which was the latest version as of 5/22/2009. However, the recent versions of Goldwave are “demo” versions that require payment after a certain amount of time or a certain number of times used. You may want to search the internet for “Goldwave 5.06” which is an older full version that never expires. You may want to archive (back up) the Goldwave 5.06 installation program in the event you need to reinstall it in the future. [As of May 2016, you will find Goldwave 5.52 and other versions at this link]
The original article (with updates) begins here:I have an old audible account that I’ve not used for a couple of years, so I logged into my old account then downloaded and installed the audible manager software, which did the job of installing the audible “.aa” codecs on my computer. I used my user ID and password to start the audible Manager software. Important: You will need to note the computer folder to which your audible .AA files are downloaded: From the audibleManager menu, click”Edit” then “Options” to display a dialog that includes the “Location of Audio Files.”
1) From audible, I downloaded a copy of the audiobook “Next,” that I had purchased a few years ago. When the download was complete, I completely closed the audible Manager software.
2) I then started the Goldwave audio conversion software and I performed a “File|Open” command to load the audiobook (.AA) file from the audible download directory. Remember: from the audibleManager menu, you can click”Edit” then “Options” to display a dialog that includes audible’s “Location of Audio Files.” Reminder: This is the “secret” of this method it that you must find and install the obsolete audibleMediaPlayerFilter file. You might be able to download it from this link.
3) Be aware that Goldwave (may require the ID and password of the audible user who originally purchased the file before it can be opened. After you convert the file to MP3, however, you can play the MP3 file on any device without entering the audible ID and password.
4) After successfully loading the audible (.AA) file into Goldwave, I selected “File | Save” then used the drop downs to select a target MP3 format file with a setting of 128kbps and a sample rate of 44100. Goldwave successfully wrote a new MP3 file to the target directory. It took Goldwave about 35 minutes to convert my 6 hour, 42MB, .AA audio file to a single large MP3 file.
UPDATE 5/2009: The first time you use Goldwave to convert an audible .AA file to .MP3, the following error may be displayed: “Encoder not found. A recent versionto the MPEG Layer 3 encoder LAM MP3 cannot be found.” The “LAME” encoder is a free file that many sound programs use to create MP3 files. You can usually click the “download” button (displayed with the Goldwave dialog) to download and correctly install the LAME MP3 file.
5) I used a program called, “MP3 DirectCut” to slice large single MP3 files into 10 or 15 minute segments. Update: thanks to “JLC” who posted this great description of how to use the Goldwave program to divide the MP3 file into separate tracks during conversion without using MP3 Direct Cut.