Jorge Alberto Mussuto Sr.

Jorge Alberto Mussuto Sr.
Somewhere in Massachusetts ®

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iTunes 9.1 Prepped and Ready for Book Content


By now, you've probably downloaded the iPad friendly iTunes 9.1, which includes the various tweaks it needed to function on the iPad. You may have also noticed that audiobooks and ebooks are now joined together as one big category of Books, which means that the day is dawning upon us. Well, in preparation, we checked out the new iTunes update to see how Books really works, and if it'll deliver all that Apple faithful have dreamed it would.
The very first thing we did upon completion of our iTunes installation was get right to uploading documents to the new books category--we did this by simply selecting the Add to Library dialog window and adding our .epub files. To be honest, we expected to that the file wouldn't turn up at all in our iTunes library.
But lo and behold, the file appeared. There at the top of our list, above all our audiobooks, it appeared. Our first instinct was to click on it, which we did, and nothing happened; it did not open. We right clicked, chose Get Info and were treated to a standard roster of information categories, but oddly, some of them were grayed out. Media kind was stuck at Book and there was no way of altering it. Also, iTunes did not add the cover art that was attached the the .epub files that we already owned, not even when we selected "Get Album Artwork." That was interesting. Did Apple plan on releasing 9.1.1 the day of the iPad's release or was there some kind of timed switch inside the latest iTunes that would add functionality once we updated our iPhone OS?
 
epubs already in iTunes

We manually added cover art and that worked, then we checked our file library architecture and found that a new folder had been created in iTunes, in the iTunes Music library oddly enough. It was listed under the author's name (first name first, as is with the music) and not in a separate folder as movies are. Frankly, if the iPad is supposed to be a media machine, handling books, music, and movies, we'd like to see a little more categorical separation.

As a separate test, we imported a .pdf file, which it did successfully, but that file was listed in with the music (along with a little book icon next to its name). Clicking on the .pdf title prompted iTunes to open the .pdf in Preview or Adobe Acrobat. This is the same behavior as with previous versions of iTunes (at least 9.0.0.70).

But the big test came when we plugged in our iPhone. The audiobook category on it had also changed to Books (though when we later opened the iPod function on our phone, audiobooks was still the only option). There was no luck in moving any of our freshly imported titles to our iPhone. We even tried tricking iTunes by creating a playlist of our .epub books and syncing our playlists. That failed. Then we clicked on the new "Books" tab in our iPhone controls, which only allowed syncing of audiobooks, and not the digital print books that were in the same Book category with them. All of this still leads us to believe Apple has one fractional additional iTunes update coming on April 3rd. For now, we're just sitting on our hands waiting, waiting, waiting.

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