Why are there no desktop media players which enable i) accurate sorting of audio book files, and ii) simple bookmarking of audio book files?

If you have a mobile device (iPhone, etc) then you have commercial third-party audio bookmarking apps such as SayAgain. Windows Mobile O/S users have the free Windows Media Player Resume plugin. If you’re lucky then you have a chance that your hardware manufacturer had the sense to include audio bookmarking in the device.

But if you’re listening to audio books on a desktop PC / wireless headphones combo, then there seems to be no viable solution.

Windows Media Player has never had audio bookmarking. There was one plugin which claimed to add this, MyMediaBookmarks, but it doesn’t work in the latest Windows Media Player (v.12). There was also apparently a circa-2005 open source plugin called BTV Enhancer, that claimed to offer that feature for WMP v.9 and v.10 — but the file seems to have vanished off the face of the Web.

And the worthy Media Player Classic’s crude Playlist window doesn’t have any “sort by” function, thus making it useless for playing audio books without playlists — where you could have 2.5Gb in 300+ files which need to be played in an exact numbered sequence (e.g.: Classic will play file_10 straight after file_1, when it should play file_2). Even if this file-sorting problem could be overcome, Media Player Classic’s “Favorites” function doesn’t appear to save any audio bookmarks in Windows 7. There is a more sophisticated third-party addon for Classic, Bookmark 1.4, but once you download it you’ll find it’s just 30-day trialware and has no uninstall options.

One promising solution I found was the free open source Songbird audio files player for Windows, and its Audio Bookmarks plugin. But then I found Songbird is afflicted with the same “unsortability bug” as Classic (e.g.: sorting by title plays file_10 straight after file_1). This makes the Songbird player unsuitable for listening to many audio books, unless your book comes with a playlist or you want to tediously make your own playlist.

Only Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 12 seems to be clever enough to figure out the right playing order from a set of such jumbled files, in one click. But then WMP can’t do audio bookmarks.

We need a desktop open-source audio-book player that’s not locked to a proprietary format, and is specifically designed for listening to audio books, annotating them, and bookmarking them. Perhaps even displaying the original “paper” page in a facing panel. Until then, I guess it’s back to finding a pen and scribbling down the filename / time on a notepad, before exiting the player.