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Got iTunes Questions? Get Answers, from Take Control

iTunes 10 has been with us a long time: so long, in fact, that Kirk McElhearn has had time to prepare not one, but two editions of his “Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.” In keeping with the book’s Q&A approach, here are some answers to questions you may have about this just-released compendium of information about Apple’s ubiquitous media software.

Why write a second edition of a book about software that hasn’t even undergone a major version change since the last edition?

Don’t let Apple’s decision not to go to 11 deceive you. Since iTunes 10 originally came out, Apple has revamped its approach to online media, bringing us such new features as iCloud and iTunes Match. This book answers the many questions that users have about these features, including a new chapter dedicated to the cloud. Of course, now that we’ve released this second edition, look for Apple to release iTunes 11 any day now.

What else is new about this edition?

Lots. Among many other changes, the book offers new answers to questions about syncing, purchasing music from places other than the iTunes Store, sources for streaming music, and ways to make your music sound better.

Why is this book presented as a list of Frequently Asked Questions?

iTunes is unlike most other software: it’s big and sprawling, being not just a media library and player, but also a device manager, a cloud storage portal, a social media service, an online storefront, and, depending on what Apple has planned for this week’s media announcement, a dessert topping and a floor wax. Because iTunes has its metaphorical fingers in so many different pies, users have many of questions about its many and disparate capabilities. By designing the book as a set of categorized questions, Kirk helps readers more easily find answers to their questions about how iTunes works and what it can do.

What do you mean by “categorized questions”?

We mean related questions organized into categories for ease of browsing and reference. For example, the book’s chapters, each of which begins with the list of the questions it covers, include “Play,” which answers 18 questions related to playing various kinds of media with iTunes; “Cloud,” which answers 13 questions about how to use iTunes Match and how to set up automatic iTunes Store downloads; “Organize,” which presents 19 answers to questions about the various kinds of playlists iTunes can create and how they are best employed; and so on. Well over one hundred questions are answered in this edition.

How long is the book and what does it cost?

That’s two questions, but we’ll let it slide. The PDF version is 173 pages long and costs $15; the number of pages in the EPUB version, which you can download at no extra cost, varies, of course, depending upon the device displaying it and its settings. Both are available today, and the Mobipocket version will be available soon, for those who wish to read on a Kindle. And remember, TidBITS members save 30 percent on all Take Control orders, which makes the book a mere $10.50.

Are there any coupons to sweeten the deal?

What a lovely leading question! Purchasers of the book will find discount coupons for $5 off Equinux SongGenie, an application that helps you clean up the information in your iTunes music library and find lyrics for your songs, and for $3 off Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil application, which enables you to play audio across your network to a host of devices, even from apps other than iTunes.

Who is Kirk McElhearn?

An international man of mystery last seen somewhere in the French Alps. Professionally, Kirk is an occasional contributor to TidBITS, the creator of the Kirkville blog, and the author of a number of other Take Control books. He’s also a Senior Contributor to Macworld, where he has just been named “The iTunes Guy.” Kirk is a long-time music fan, whose favorites include the Grateful Dead, Franz Schubert, Bill Evans, and more. His iTunes library currently has around 80,000 tracks.

Speaking of Macworld, don’t you have another book from them this week too?

Why yes, we do! Briefly, it’s the “Macworld iPhone 4S Superguide,” and it’s a 268-page ebook that provides setup advice; details on most of Apple’s apps; insider suggestions for working more efficiently; ways to work with music, photos, and video; a thorough troubleshooting chapter; and recommendations for cases, headphones, speakers, and more.

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