[ Geek ]
I first tried O’Reilly’s Safari bookshelf by signing up for a free 14 day trial last summer. Eventually I moved to their personal version until finally landing on clearspace acquiring our own corporate package which offers us all slightly better rates.
I’ve tried one competing offering out there, that being Books24x7. Their interfaces, number of books, prices and features differ only slightly. The main differentiator is the books in their libraries, ie Wrox versus O’Reilly. If you prefer Wrox books, you’re best on books24x7, if you prefer O’Reilly then get Safari. Actually, just try them both out as I believe they both offer free trials. I ultimately prefer Safari because I have always trusted O’Reilly books in general.
To be blunt, I’m unsure how I coped without this. Regardless of which service you choose, the bottom line is you have instant and complete access to over 3000 books. For me, this supports my work in a far better fashion that traditional books. I need to quickly research a topic by hearing or reading a variety of voices and opinions. In the past I would rely solely on the free publishings on the internet. For anything more in depth I would search around on Amazon, do my best to pick a reputable book on the topic, and either order and wait days or head to the local bookstore and hope they have a title.
At best I’m able to get a book that day, most likely paying $50 to $100, at worst I’m waiting up to a week. If I’m lucky I choose well and end up with a book that solves my problems. If I make a crappy choice then I’m stuck with more useless dead trees. With Safari I have instant access to over 3000 titles allowing me to hunt around in a multitude of books in order to get a well rounded perspective on the topic at hand for the cost of about six books a year.