Safari Bookshelf: Offsetting the huge price of IT books

MSDN recently offered a special offering to MSDN Subscribers, providing access to Safari Bookshelf, an online repository of more than 1,500 fully-searchable technical books. I can’t provide the link since it requires you to login so I’ll just direct you to the Safari Books Online site to start.

However, you can also try it for 14 days on O’Reilly’s portal and InformIT.

While many will recoil at the thought of reading an actual book online (I, too, prefer to have a hard copy for some reading efforts), the ability to have

The Safari premise is fairly straight forward:

1. Buy a monthly subscription ($14.95 gets you 10 slots but the MSDN trial was giving 20)

2. For that month, you receive “slots” on your bookshelf. You can purchase more if you are a voracious reader.

3. During the month, you can pick any book from the 1,500 they have, all nicely categorized into tech topics.

4. You can preview the books but if you want to read the entire content, you have to add it to your bookshelf. (note: some larger books take up more than 1 slot – reminds me of Columbia house))

5. Books on your bookshelf must remain on the bookshelf for a minimum of 30 days. But unless you’re in the habit of reading a book a day, (you know for those who read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in 3 hours ), that should be plenty of time.

The collection is pretty extensive. It includes Addison Wesley, O’Reilly and even a few from Microsoft Press (although I’m still waiting for Code Complete 2 to appear). I’m still waiting for a response from their support team (5 days and counting) but I’ve grabbed a few books and while it takes some getting used to, being able to cut and paste out of the books for code samples and also to cross-reference sources is a huge benefit.

I would be interested in knowing though – I would hope the authors get royalties on “borrowed books” but I would doubt it. But if you know for sure, drop me a line and let me know.

The cost may appear steep. But I noticed that Craig is reading a book a month

so if that’s the case, the low subscription fee is almost a steal.

I’ll have to see if I still think so after my 30 days are up.

Safari Books Online