iPod Fan Book

by Yasukuni Notomi. 96 pp. O’Reilly, 2004. $14.95.

According to author Yasukuni Notomi, the iPod is more than a portable music device – it’s a lifestyle. In iPod Fan Book, Notomi embraces the world of iPod and dispenses wisdom for making your iPod experience happier and more rewarding.

Let iPod Fan Book be your guide to selecting accessories, choosing the “right rip” (recording format and bit rate) for different types of music and spoken word, creating playlists, and traveling with your iPod (keep it in your carry-on luggage, remember your charger, and use open-air rather than sound-isolating headphones to avoid mishaps). Notomi’s advice is practical, and often low tech. How to keep the headphone wires from tangling? You could buy a “cable eater” spool, but it’s easiest to simply wrap the wires around the body of your iPod.

iPod Fan Book was first published in Japanese, and the English translation retains a pleasing aesthetic (“trim your iPod’s collection as you would a bonsai tree”). Product references and web resources have been adapted for the English edition.

The book’s design is itself an homage to the iPod. At just under 6 inches by 6 inches, the book is almost exactly the height and width of an iPod box. A hugely enlarged photo of an iPod click wheel adorns the front cover, while the back cover reproduces an iPod’s logo’d back. Over this slipcover wraps an iPod mini-colored half cover (mine was green) bearing the book’s title and publishing information – very elegant. The choice of dark grey for the book’s typeface, a nod to the typography of Apple’s website, makes for a similarly elegant presentation, but it can make for difficult reading when lighting is poor.

Beyond its stylish exterior, iPod Fan Book is a surprisingly succinct and useful guide to everyone’s favorite portable sound player. iPod Fan Book is the perfect stocking stuffer for the iPod lovers in your life.

– Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2004 by Elsa Travisano. This review appeared in the November 2004 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.