If you are like me, you probably spend a ton of money every year on 3rd technical publications/reference manuals. I’ve spent many years as a software consultant and had to keep on top of the latest and greatest technologies and methodologies. I easily spent hundreds of dollars every month on books and reference manuals. Considering that each book cost $40-$60 – it’s easy to spend thousands per year. This is even with access to the Internet and Google.
The costs of the books are easily justified when you look at your account receivables or you took that next step on the corporate ladder. Some of these books are worth their weight in GOLD. Of course, they also feel that way when you are lugging them around on your daily commute, or when your wife/girlfriend/significant other complains that the bookshelves are bowing because of the number of the books and it’s time to have a garage sale. Oh yeah.. now you have to deal with who’s going to buy that Foxpro for Dummies book now?
O’Reilly’s Safari Online service to the rescue. I’ve been using this service for at least two years and it has COMPLETELY replace all my reference book purchases.
O’Reilly’s Safari Online is an online knowledge service that charges you a reoccurring subscription fee to access their large collection of publications online. The site contains thousands of books that range from the technical (majority of the books) to the creative, to management and soft-skills.
One of the key features to this service is that all of the books are full-text indexed and are fully searchable. It’s quite staggering the amount of information that is at your finger tips. In addition, as opposed to Google searches on the Internet, the information contained with the site has been reviewed by some technical editor out there someplace, so the information is qualified to some degree.
The site also contain (from the site):
- The Rough Cuts service enables authors to publish their working manuscripts on Safari. This program gives the Safari community early access to pre-published information and allows the authors to interact with their readers for feedback as the book develops.
- The Short Cuts service is another publishing medium in Safari that accelerates information to its subscribers. Short Cuts are deep concise works by Safari authors, generally under one hundred pages in length, and only found in digital format.
- Instructional video now complements Safari’s immense repository of published works. Videos from lynda.com and other Safari publishers deliver expert visual instruction on web development, digital media, and many design and development applications.
In addition to viewing the content online, depending on the plan you choose, you can download chapters into PDF files for your use — Or buy the printed version of the book.
Click here to watch a demo of the site.
Safari’s contributing publishers:
- Prentice Hall
- lynda.com, Inc.
- Cisco Press
- Microsoft Press
- Peachpit Press
- John Wiley & Sons
- New Riders Publishing
- Course Technology
- IBM Press
- Adobe Press
- SAS Publishing
- Alpha Books
- FT Press
- Muska & Lipman
- MySQL Press
- No Starch
- Novell Press
- Premier Press
- Prima Publishing
- Wharton School Publishing
This is not a cheap service. However, if you are the type to buy at least one technical book a month, this service will pay for itself. There are two types of plans: a 10-slot bookshelf plan at $22.99/month or the unlimited plan at $42.99/month. The bookshelf plan allows you to have up to 10 books on the shelf at any given time – with minimums on how long the book has to stay on the shelf (30 days – thus you can access 10 different books per month, every month.) Unlimited plan is exactly that, unlimited. The Bookshelf concept is replaced with a Favorites list (I have 13 or so on my list right now.)
Here are the plans for individuals with some of the benefits:
Corporate plans are quoted differently.