The Alexandrian

Frustration.

A little over three years ago I recorded an audio book edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu. It was designed to be the inaugural entry in the Mythos Audio Library, to be followed by the much larger and more complex project of At the Mountains of Madness. Unfortunately, the original distribution plans for the audio book (and the Mythos Audio Library) as a whole fell apart completely before it could be released.

So I was quite excited, when prepping City Supplement 1: Dweredell for release, to discover the Lulu.com also offers an audio CD service. I quickly went in, converted the audio files to the proper format, and started uploading them to Lulu. (A process which took a not-inconsiderable amount of time. Uploading 700MB takes awhile.) While the upload was proceeding apace, I was preparing a cover and CD label for the project.

But when it came time for the project to be completed, I received only an error from Lulu’s web interface: “Cannot create ISO.” After spending several days trying to get in touch with customer service, I finally succeeded and discovered what the problem was: For some reason, Lulu can’t produce CDs with a length longer than 70 minutes (whereas the typical CD has a maximum length of 74 or 80 minutes.)

The length of Call of Cthulhu? 72 minutes.

Gah.

I’m not sure what to do about this. I want the Mythos Audio Library to feature unabridged versions of the stories, so simply excising two minutes of audio is essentially impossible. I could simply split the audio book across two discs, but Lulu doesn’t offer CD bundling. So not only would you have to pay nearly twice as much, you’d also have to order essentially two separate products just to get 2 extra minutes of audio. Plus the story is dramatically designed to be absorbed in a single gulp — there’s no good place to put an intermission.

(Obviously I would split the audio down the middle of the story if I did this, not just tack 2 minutes onto a second CD all by themselves.)

The other option is to convert the files to MP3 and offer the audio book as a download-only. I’d probably do that in any case, but I really want to make the CD version work somehow.

Sigh.

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