In Chapter 1 you learned how iTunes simplifies converting (also called ripping) songs from your compact discs into small iPod-ready digital files: You basically just pop a CD into your computer's disc drive and iTunes walks you through the process. If you're connected to the Internet, iTunes downloads song titles and other album info. A few minutes later, you've got copies of those tunes in iTunes.
If you want time to think about which songs you want from each CD, no problem. Simply summon the Preferences box (Ctrl+comma/⌘-comma), click the General tab, and then change the menu next to "When you insert a CD:" to "Show CD."
If you know you want all the songs on that stack of CDs next to your computer, just change the iTunes CD import preferences to "Import CD and Eject" to save yourself some clicking.
So now, if you don't want the entire album—who wants anything from Don McLean's American Pie besides the title track?—you can exclude the songs you don't want by removing the checkmarks next to their names. Once you've picked your songs, in the bottom-right corner of the screen, click the Import CD button.
You can Ctrl+click (⌘-click) any box to deselect all checkboxes at once. To do the reverse, Ctrl+click (⌘-click) a box next to an unchecked song to turn them all on again. This is a great technique when you want only one or two songs in the list; turn all checkboxes off, and then turn those two back on again.
As the import process starts, iTunes moves down the list of checked songs, converting each one to a file in your My Documents→My Music→iTunes→iTunes Music folder (Home→Music→iTunes→iTunes Music). An orange squiggle next to a song name means the track is currently converting. Feel free to switch to other programs, answer email, surf the Web, and do other work while the ripping is under way.
Once the process is done, each imported song bears a green checkmark, and iTunes signals its success with a little melodious flourish. Now you have some brand-new songs in your iTunes music library.