Today I learned something new about audio books in iTunes when I purchased an audiobook from iTunes on my Macbook Air and tried to access it on my iPhone. Audiobooks don’t get included in iTunes Match and they can’t be re-downloaded from iTunes in the cloud. So to get a purchased audiobook from one device to another you need to do an iTunes sync.

sigh

So I had to do a sync. It was over WIFI so at least I didn’t need to plug anything in (like in the olden days) but it did make me realise how much my handling of my iTunes library and syncing had changed since the introduction of iTunes Match and (most recently) being able to re-download purchased movies.

I don’t even have syncing enabled for Music, Movies, TV Shows or any other iTunes library category. I haven’t done an actual sync between my iPhone or iPad and iTunes on my Macbook Air for more than a month. I just download my purchased movies, TV shows, apps and ebooks on which ever device I am using at the time, and all my music is in iTunes Match so it is available anywhere. Contacts, email, calendars etc are in iCloud. iOS updates happen over-the-air now and backups are performed to iCloud. There just is no reason to sync, especially since our ISP doesn’t include iTunes downloads in our bandwidth limit.

I enabled theManually Manage Movies checkbox on the device Summary screen in iTunes a while ago so I could drag and drop movies from the iTunes library onto my iPad without having iTunes do a sync. This lets me have an iTunes movie library that doesn’t match the iPad. What I didn’t realise was that this allows manual management for everything, including audio books. Easy. Didn’t even have to enable syncing for audio books for it to work.

I’m guessing that Apple either has existing contracts with audio book providers that disallow them from providing re-download or distribution in iTunes Match. Movies were probably only available for re-download recently for similar reasons. So until such time as the rights holders agree to new terms then syncing with iTunes is something that isn’t going to go away.