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O'Reilly Safari

Does anyone have any experiences with O'Reilly's Safari online bookshelf service?

I was looking at it and it seemed like a good idea and deal.

At this point, however, I'd like to make a plea for people to skip all the "I can't read books on a screen" posts that you were planning. That's a religious war level issue that can have no true resolution and we'll just take it for granted that if you can't read books on a screen then you also won't like Safari.

But for those of us who can (or plan to use the service primarily for reference books), do you have any experiences, or what do you think.

Bill Tomlinson
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

i like it. i use it. But one thing i dont like , is that you have to keep a book out for a few weeks before you can check it back in. This eats up your 'points' . For ten a month you get 5 points. usually a point a book. Also some titles I want arent there.

woohoo.python
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

OK selection.  i would start out on the low levels point wise.  i never got around to using all my points, so i dropped it since i wasn't utilizing it.

razib
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

How is the book text presented? Is it in some ebook format or pdf or is it in plain text? Is the plain text organized according to the page numbers of the print editions or is it organized strictly according to sections and chapters?

Benji Smith
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

It works exactly the same way as it does if you're not logged in, except you can read the entire book. Go try it. It's well worth it.

Kirk
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I like it a lot. It is great when you need to get at some info but don't want/need to invest in an actual book.

For example, I deal with T-SQL once in a blue moon. But this month I'm doing a lot with it, so I added the book to my list. Once the project is complete I'll just delete it.

Marc
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I have a 5-book account. It's pretty useful and I used it alot when going into an area of programming (e.g. J2EE)that I wasn't familiar with.

If you haven't spent alot of money buying the paper version, then I feel it's a good investment. I also find it cheaper than going to the local library, borrowing some books, forgetting (or no time) to return them, extending the loan ($$) and then pay the fines.

Comments:
- The booksearch works well, but the relevance sorting is poor.
- The text size is way too small and you can't change it using IE's text size, so you have to disable CSS by IE->Tools->Options->Accessibility.
- The selection is OK and it'd be great if they include more titles from their competitors.
- OReilly's new titles take sometime (a few weeks?) before they make it available on Safari.
- They should add a user feedback for each book/chapter so that users can fill in more information or point out inaccuracies especially since this is about software. Such a feature will add value to Safari.

rexguo
Thursday, March 13, 2003

I've used it for a few months now at the 10 point level and have been very happy with it. In the 3+ months that I have been a subscriber I've gotten pretty good use out of at least ten different books. At about $15/month for a 10 point library, when you consider the annual cost as the equivalent of 3-4 technical books, I think the service is well worth it.

Yes, not everything is there, and many of the books tend to be older publications, but I think there is enough there that is useful.

I certainly don't know if I would recommend going with any of the higher subscription levels. I find that I am using a couple of books at the most at any given time and at most 5-6 books within a month period (the amount of time you are required to keep a book on your bookshelf) and really haven't felt limited by the 10 point limit.

As for preference for online vs. physical text, I've always shied away from online. I certainly don't have any plans to sit down and read Shakespeare on my laptop. I think however, that the way a technical book tends to be read, or at least the way I read technical books by reading the few intro chapters and then going to the sections that are of most interest, the online format actually works reasonably well.

Carl
Thursday, March 13, 2003

Thanks for the responses. I'm going to give it a try, but go with the packages with the lower number of "points".

You know, this seems like a great thing for a company to provide as a standard tool for their developers. I'm going to add it to the list of standard benefits for the company I'm eventually going to start up.

Bill Tomlinson
Thursday, March 13, 2003

I discovered errors in xslt cookbook and submitted them but safari expects you to state the page number - this does not relate to the online stuff at all.

They do not have it all sorted out but i did subscribe today as my evaluation expires tomorrow. With all this stuff i think a lot of market research goes into making the service ramp smooth so you end up upgrading to the next level.
Thus the 5 points and 30 days were calibrated with care.

Karel
Thursday, March 13, 2003

Rexguo,
            to change text size use Netscape or Miozilla. The tabbed browsing is fabulous too. IE at present is way behind just because of these two features.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 21, 2003

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