Book Bytes Special Seasonal Sampler

The iPod & iTunes Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition
by Christopher Breen

Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-321-48614-5, 224 pages small format
$9.99 US, $11.99 CN, £6.99 UK

With the most essential information for the least amount of money, The iPod & iTunes Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition is a contender. Breen is the godfather of iPod experts and authors, but is this his best project to date? Font size and inking are small and less than dark, and screen shots are not numerous. Everything essentially iPoddish is covered, if more briefly than others in our evaluation. When text is more important than images, and minimum size/price are criteria, beginners and some intermediates will accept our 3.5 out of 5 score.

iPod: The Missing Manual, 5th Edition
by J. D. Biersdorfer

Pogue Press / O’Reilly Media
ISBN 0-596-52978-3, 239 pages
$19.99 US, $25.99 CN

For gorgeous production values and distilled introduction to the iPod, iPod: The Missing Manual, 5th Edition is splendid. At the same price and with similar content to The iPod Book, 3rd Edition, below, your purchasing choice comes down to style and presentation. Most suitable for new owners, 3.5 out of 5 is a fair rating in this Book Bytes capsule commentary.

iPod Fully Loaded: If You’ve Got it, You Can iPod It
by Andy Ihnatko

Wiley Publishers
ISBN 0-470-04950-2, 276 pages
$19.99 US, $23.99 CN, £13.99 UK

Picking up where Missing Manual leaves off, iPod Fully Loaded goes under the hood and behind the scenes to deliver more functionality for your iPod than you ever thought your little musical blob can accomplish. I spent an entire afternoon studying this book in preparation for a Book Bytes Live! podcast interview with the author, scheduled for Podcast #109, and I am impressed. Andy did his homework, and the results are masterful. A wealth of Tips and Tidbits sidebars and an abundance of screenshots make this book a keeper for past and future generations of iPods, not just the current batch. Ihnatko has a distinctive writing style that makes you feel like he’s a geeky friend who’s tutoring just you. When you want much more than the basics, you’ll agree with our 4.5 out of 5 Book Bytes rating.

The iPod Book, 3rd Edition
by Scott Kelby

Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-321-48617-X, 305 pages
$19.99 US, $24.99 CN, £13.99 UK

Every page has the same physical look and feel in The iPod Book, 3rd Edition. With one comprehensive lesson per page, you always know where you are within its format. Kelby’s strongest range of material is on using iPod for music acquisition and playback. This book is aimed toward beginners who want to learn it once and get it right. For large, hiqh-quality screen shots and a chatty writing style (does he dictate, or use a keyboard?), our Book Bytes capsule coverage rating is a solid 4 out of 5 for less experienced iPodders.

40 iPod Techniques
by Troy Silver and Rand Miranda

Youngjin Singapore / Wiley Publishers
ISBN 981-053721-2, 164 pages square format
$16.99 US, $21.99 CN, £9.99 UK

The Accessories section is the strongest part of this square-but-well-rounded iPod volume. It’s cuter and more colorful than the Dummies book listed below, but with less content than Kelby’s title above. If price, size, and style are your main criteria for choosing an iPod book, 40 iPod Techniques will suffice. But for a little more money, you get a lot more quantity elsewhere. Squeaks in at barely 3 out of 5, exclusively for beginners.

iPod & iTunes for Dummies, 4th Edition
by Tony Bove and Cheryl Rhodes

Wiley / Dummies Press
ISBN 0-470-04894-8, 418 pages
$21.99 US, $25.99 CN, £14.99 UK

For size and price iPod & iTunes for Dummies, 4th Edition is the largest physical book on our sextet, and the one with the most content. No glossy pages or color photos here, just beginner through intermediate descriptions and numbered steps for everything newbies-and-more need to know. When you have memorized all within these pages, you’ll be able to work the iPod Genius shift at any Apple Store. Dummies books are the ones power users sneer at, but barely one in a dozer iPod/iTunes geekers could pass a pop quiz based on the tons of practical techniques here. Not a glamor book, but solid info throughout. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 for all but the most advanced readers.


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