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Cheap tech booxs?

Question: where do you  guys get technical books? I just dropped upwards of $80 (again... d'oh!) on some new tech books. I've paged through em and I know they're worth it, but it's still a day's worth of pay for me.

I know it's a bit of a niche market, and that's why it's $$$, but still, it starts to hurt after a bit 8-}

Any recomendations? So far, I've done most of my ordering off of Barnes & Noble's online store, or Borders, in the store.

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I stopped spending the money. If I realy need it for my job then I have my employer buy it, if it is just for personal use then I make do with the web. A few times a year I browse the clearence sales and get 10 books for the price of one, mostly on narrow specialty topics, not the version dependant tech tutorial stuff.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

These sites search for the best deal:

Amazon seemed to be very competetive though when I searched for the "Thinking in Java" publication

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

For technical books I check first.  They usually have better discounts than Amazon.  Example: Knuth's 3 volume set, $149.99 at Amazon  (no discount), $114.50 at bookpool (24% discount). 

bookpool's service has been as good as other places, but their selection is quite limited.  They only do "discount technical books" and even among technical books their selection is limited.  And they aren't always the cheapest, be sure to compare before buying. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I've found, oddly enough, that has steep discounts on tech books which are also used as textbooks.  As much as 50% less than's price, which ends up cheaper even with the overseas shipping charges.

Why one Amazon would be so much cheaper than another is not something that makes sense to me, but hey, take advantage of it while it lasts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Last time I was in Sri Lanka I bought a load of stuff at 25% of the dollar price. Then I found the airline had decided to indulge in some ambush marketing and charged me excess baggage on the return leg.


Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I buy used off amazon.

If you're willing to get an "off-by-one" edition, you can get them -very- cheap.

Matt H.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Here in the UK are excellent.

Their prices are consistant with the lowers available on

For orders over 25 pound next day delivery is free, and still cheap for lower orders.

So far every single book has arrived the next day.  Wish I could say the same for Amazon.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Prices are tough - and waiting for them (or paying International Fed Ex) is just as bad. is a cool. Main disadvantage is that you don't get a "book" - you get access to books online. Advantages - it's a LOT cheaper than buying them, you can search them, and you don't have to wait in you need the information "like NOW".

They seem to have some billing problems - I couldn't get them to accept a MasterCard issued in Spain (where I live), but Visa worked fine (complaints to Safari didn't).

Ed Eichman
Cambrils, Spain

Ed Eichman
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Are the books the hardcover editions or the paperback international editions?  I noticed all the searches I did on textbooks at the UK site came up with the paperback editions by default.  If you scroll down and look for "editions", then click on "hardcover", the price comes out the same between the US and UK Amazons.

You can buy the cheaper international editions off the US Amazon site, but some of the complaints that I've read are that the paper is thinner, the ink can rub off, and the paper has a funny odor to it (YMMV).

Another good price comparator is (formerly

Myself, I usually go to a local technical bookstore.  I often find good used copies for 30%-50% off, and I can inspect them before I buy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I've gone to

I usually find the book I'm looking for on Amazon, then cruise the other sites to find it cheaper.  Amazon usually lets you read some of the chapters, check out the index, read ratings, etc.

One fun trick to try on Amazon is to price the same book with different browsers.  They sometimes try and profile your buying habits.  I have three browsers and have occassionally gotten 3 different prices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

With few exceptions, I've always ordered my tech books from bookpool.

Chris Blaise
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Many people buy from quality dealers when they have a choice (as opposed to dealers who don't care about customers).  If you see that the quality dealer WAY overpriced something (relative to other dealers and new versions), a simple polite email could help, saying that you'd be happy to pay a reasonable premium but they should reply if they made a pricing mistake.  Oftentimes this works out, though they might take a day to respond.

I've also hit bookwarez irc channels when looking for the hard-to-obtain book, though I'll get annoyed if a flamewar erupts since my gf is already on my case about spending money on only books.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I used to buy books to not only expand my breath of high level knowledge about specific topics but also to list the apis that HTML documents already do so well.

Afte spending enough to buy a nice second hand Mazda 323, I stopped chasing.

Now I find google will take care of the little details for me (why does this bug happen, how do you do this impossible something in X technology or api or work around). And I have learned to live with official documentations.

I do recommend most of my friends to chase the curve at the beginning using books. It does softens the curve you are chasing a bit when you are a bit green in the IT world. It's basically another way to spoon-feed yourself without having professors breathing down your neck.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Here's a this pisses me off rant: I used to buy a ton of O'Reilly books, now some kids are posting the ebook editions on freaking Kazaa of all places--no thanks to Safari. Call the anti-piracy hot line!

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

On whether or not to buy tech books: I have pretty much stopped buying straight-out reference books, and now purchase mostly higher-level books, like the Gang of Four book, some of Fowler's work, etc. The sort of things that 'man perl' won't tell you 8-}

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I just dropped upwards of $80 (again... d'oh!) on some new tech books. I've paged through em and I know they're worth it, but it's still a day's worth of pay for me.

how many hours do you work in day?

Tom Vu
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I'm not making millions, but I'm not complaining either. I am well enough off to be able to spend a day's pay on books. I may not be able to drive a BMW (unless I want to make payments, ugh...), but I can afford to buy a $10 steak or go see a movie without worrying about my budget any.

How many hours do I work a day? Enough to survive, not enough to kill myself. It's a good, relaxing way to live, which is more than I can say of many people I know.

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Safari best thing i've done this year

Bookpool, Amazon second hand sellers (even ship faster than Amazon)

use bestbookbuys - amazon quotes competively

Friday, May 23, 2003

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