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How to Buy Audiobooks, Movies, and Non-Music Products from iTunes

The iTunes Music Store is now just called the iTunes Store because you can purchase a lot more than just music for your iPod. Whether you’re an audiobook fan or a TV buff, or a lifelong learner, you can use your Mac to find what you need on Apple iTunes.

  • Audiobooks: From Ernest Hemingway to James Patterson, you can find the iTunes equivalent of books on tape. You can sample 90-second previews, three times as long as music selections. Of course, audio books can go on for hours, compared to three or four minutes for your average song. Prices vary too. A 23-minute audio of Stephen Colbert's remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner costs $1.95; an eight-and-a-half-hour audio version of “Papa” Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms goes for $25.95.

  • Podcasts: Podcasts, found in the Podcasts genre inside iTunes, are another form of Internet radio; you can listen to these free, downloadable files whenever you find time. However, many podcasts go beyond radio and show video. Podcasts cover a broad range of topics (business, politics, sports, TV and film, technology, and so on) and are served up by experienced broadcasters, mainstream media outlets (National Public Broadcasting, Newsweek, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal), and ordinary people.

    You can fetch individual episodes by clicking Get Episode or subscribe to podcasts that arrive on a regular basis. As with audiobooks, you can click to hear (or watch) a 90-second sample.

    You can find the podcasts you’ve downloaded by clicking Podcasts in the Source list. You can also instruct iTunes on how often to check for new episodes (hourly, daily, weekly, manually) and how long to keep episodes you’ve downloaded (all unplayed, most recent, last two, last five, and more).

  • Video and TV shows: Lost was among the first handful of TV shows that Apple made available on iTunes. The number of programs quickly mushroomed to incorporate everything from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to The Sopranos. Music videos and short films are also available.

    Videos and TV shows inside iTunes cost $1.99 to $2.99 apiece; high-definition shows fetch the higher price. As with audio tracks, you can sample 30-second previews and also subscribe to a season for a given series.

    Before you can transfer some videos to an iPod, you may have to convert them to a format iPod recognizes. Select the video and choose Advanced→Convert Selection for iPod.

  • Movies: Apple not only sells motion pictures through iTunes but rents them, too. Newer films typically cost $14.99 to purchase or $3.99 to rent; add a buck for HD. Rented movies come with restrictions. You have 30 days to start watching, but only 24 hours to finish once you’ve begun playing it.

    Through iTunes you can view the trailer and read plot summaries, the credits, and customer reviews. You can watch a movie on your computer. If you want to watch the widescreen TV in your home theater, you need to purchase Apple’s $229 (on up) box called Apple TV that connects to a TV and wirelessly communicates with your iTunes library to show movies, pictures, and videos and play music through the television.

  • iPod games: Want to play Sudoku or Pac-Man on your iPod? Apple sells Sudoku, Pac-Man, and other iPod games in iTunes for $4.99 each. As of this writing, the games were compatible with third-generation iPod Nano, iPod Classic, and some other models, (but not the Touch or iPhone). And though the games are transferred to the iPod when you connect it to iTunes on your Mac, you can’t actually play the games on your computer.

  • The App Store: If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can access nifty programs for those devices — covering games, news, productivity, social networking, and more. More than 3,000 apps were available as of this writing, with more than 90 percent priced at under $10 and more than 600 free. While you can access the App Store wirelessly on an iPhone or Touch, you can also get there directly via iTunes.

  • iTunes U: If you’re a lifelong learner, you’ll enjoy the more than 50,000 free educational audio and video files from top colleges, museums, and other global organizations.

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