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Best way to combine one PDF & multiple MP3 files into a single zipped file

Posted on 2015-01-26
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Last Modified: 2015-02-08
Hello,

Are there different methods for zipping files (in Win 7) and if so, what method is best?

I'm setting up a small business website at Shopify and one category of products are for children and sold as digital downloads. A single "item" consists of an "album" of 8-16 audio tracks (MP3 files) and an activity book (a 20-60 pg PDF file).

Knowing that the simplest solution for a customer is to have only a single file to download, what is the best way to zip the one PDF and multiple MP3 files into a single zipped file?

Thanks
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Question by:WeThotUWasAToad
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Expert Comment

by:NVIT
ID: 40571325
Are the pdf and mp3 files named similarly? If so, we could use a batch file to do it.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 250 total points
ID: 40571462
Hi Steve,

The most well-known tool for zipping files is WinZip, but I've been using 7-Zip for several years and it is excellent (free, too):
http://www.7-zip.org

I also use my file manager, Total Commander, often to zip files. Almost all file managers (even Windows Explorer, although I never use it) can zip files.

One thing you'll want to think about is if you want a straight ZIP file (that must be manually unpacked) or a self-extracting one (an EXE file that automatically unpacks the archive when it runs). There are pros and cons.

As a side comment, I'm also working on setting up a small business website and am leaning towards Shopify — to sell software that I've developed (and maybe other digital downloads later, but starting with my custom programs). I don't know if you've looked into a Shopify plugin for your digital downloads, but I did some research on it and like the looks of SendOwl, which was previously called Digital Delivery App. Here's the Shopify plugin page for it:
https://apps.shopify.com/sendowl

And here's its own website:
https://www.sendowl.com

I think it's worth a look for you. I've exchanged many emails with them and they have been extremely responsive and helpful.

I look forward to hearing how it goes for you with your Shopify store. Let's trade some tips! For starters, have you selected a theme? If so, which one? I'm leaning towards Providence (probably Seaside, maybe Birch), but haven't made a decision yet. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40571570
Thanks for the responses.
Are the pdf and mp3 files named similarly?
Can you elaborate re this question? The actual filenames have absolutely no resemblance whatsoever as the MP3's are names of audio tracks such as you would find on any album and the PDF book is the overall product name.

If so, we could use a batch file to do it.
What is a "batch"?
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 125 total points
ID: 40571613
Do you plan that the packages will be pre-built  (i.e. "Package A" contains PDF 1 and tracks 1,2,4,7,11 & 14, while "Package B" contains PDF 2 and tracks 5,6,7,8,9 & 12 ) or selected by the customer (i.e. "I want that book" (from a list) "and these music files" (from a list) and then Zipped)?
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by:NVIT
ID: 40571633
It looks like you'll want this zipping action to occur when the customer checks out.  Maybe server side scripting.
Yes?
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40571715
Thanks Joe.
I've been using 7-Zip for several years…
Does 7-Zip have any benefits over WinZip?

…a straight ZIP file (that must be manually unpacked) or a self-extracting one…
I've always been sort of wary of downloads bundled with a self-extracting apps because it seems like not infrequently, other "crap-apps" are included in the bundle as well. Also, a support rep at Shopify told me that most current operating systems have a self-extracting utility built in. Is that your understanding and if so, does it not eliminate the need for bundling an exe app with the main download as you mentioned?

…I did some research on it and like the looks of SendOwl…
I wasn't familiar with SendOwl but just installed the plug-in called Digital Download which was suggested during an earlier conversation with a Shopify rep. What is it that you like about SendOwl?

Thanks again
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40571741
Do you plan that the packages will be pre-built…?
Pre-built is the answer. The theme (and title for that matter) of a given album has its unique and corresponding book. In other words, when we used to sell physical products, the customer would purchase a particular title (a single sku) and we would ship them a CD & book, each of which was labeled with that title. In fact, in many cases, a given book is written and designed so that the child can follow along through the book's pages as its corresponding CD is playing.
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40571755
It looks like you'll want this zipping action to occur when the customer checks out.
If that is the same question then please see my above response. If not, please advise. Thanks
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 250 total points
ID: 40571827
> Does 7-Zip have any benefits over WinZip?

Yes, although one of its "benefits" I do not recommend using, namely, its own proprietary 7Z format. While it has some advantages over ZIP format, it means that users on the other end must have 7-Zip. That is unacceptable, imo. But even for good ol' ZIP format, 7-Zip claims "a compression ratio that is 2-10% better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip". I don't know if that's true, and whether it is or not, I don't think it's too important. Perhaps the biggest benefit of 7-Zip over WinZip is that it's free. WinZip was free years ago, but then started charging for the software. 7-Zip is arguably as good, if not better, and is still free (and open source at SourceForge).

> I've always been sort of wary of downloads bundled with a self-extracting apps because it seems like not infrequently, other "crap-apps" are included in the bundle as well.

I agree. When I mentioned "pros and cons" in my post, that's one of the cons.

> Also, a support rep at Shopify told me that most current operating systems have a self-extracting utility built in. Is that your understanding

What the rep probably meant is that current operating systems have a zip utility built in. That's what I meant in my post when I said that even Windows Explorer can do it (File Explorer in W8).

> and if so, does it not eliminate the need for bundling an exe app with the main download as you mentioned?

To be clear, I wouldn't call it bundling an EXE app with the download. The download will be one of two things — either a ZIP file, which has to be manually unzipped by your customer, or an EXE file, which will automatically do the unzip when your customer runs it. In other words, the EXE file isn't a stand-alone unzip tool — it is a file that contains the zipped digital material that your customer purchased inside an executable file which will unzip that material when it runs.

> Digital Download which was suggested during an earlier conversation with a Shopify rep. What is it that you like about SendOwl?

Since I'll be selling software, license keys are an issue. As far as I know, Shopify's Digital Downloads app does not provide support for license keys, whereas SendOwl can handle the generation, storage, and issuing of keys. But you should compare the features for yourself. It's possible that Shopify's free Digital Downloads app does everything you need — you may not need to pay for SendOwl. Here's Shopify's Digital Downloads doc:
http://docs.shopify.com/manual/more/official-shopify-apps/digital-downloads

There's no SendOwl doc per se that I'm aware of — just take a spin through the Features section of their site:
https://www.sendowl.com/features

If you have questions that aren't answered at their site, drop them an email at <support@sendowl.com>. Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 125 total points
ID: 40581183
Just my own experiences, I have used Flip Albums or Flip Books, it's a program that is like a ebook create the cover the contents on each page add music and burn to CD it auto plays with a click of a mouse or auto plays
FlipPhoto Maker (Freeware)
n Free FlipPhoto Maker, there are four useful output options for you to publish flip album. Publish as HTML for website use and view easily online; output flip album as standalone Exe and burn to CD to view individually and easily; output to Zip format for sharing others quickly via email. The output flash flip album can be printed, zoomed in/out, downloaded, shared and viewed in full screen.
http://www.flipbuilder.com/free-flip-photo-maker/
Flip Album
http://www.flipalbum.com/fahome/product/fapro/
http://www.flipalbum.com/products/fap6/feature.php
http://www.flipalbum.com/fahome/product/fastd/index.php
Flip pdf
Convert PDF to realistic page turning eBook
http://www.flipbuilder.com/page/flip-book-software.html?gad.flippdf.place&gclid=CMKV2IvkvcMCFVQAvAodiLsAig
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Author Closing Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40597215
Thanks a bunch for the multiple responses and great ideas.

As it turns out, I ended up just using Windows built-in zip utility:

        File > Send to... > Compressed (zipped) folder

and it did all I needed.

However, I did learn great info from this thread including the idea that downloadable items are sometimes pre-zipped (as in my case) vs. being zipped later.

Thanks again!
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40597303
You're welcome! As always, happy to help. I wish you the best of luck in your web business. When you have the Shopify store set up, please post its link here — I'd like to take a spin through it. Regards, Joe
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