I am always hesitant to purchase new computer books since it seems that they will be outdated, or at least lacking the latest features, by they time you get them home. At forty bucks a book, this seems like a little bit of a waste, not to mention the space they take. Most computer books are rather thick, and justifying the extra space is difficult in a one bedroom apartment. Furthermore, computer books often fall into one of two categories: references that will be read occasionally but never straight through, and tutorials that will be read once and never again.
So, in light of this observation, I decided to try O’Reilly’s Safari Bookshelf for their 14 day trial period. I have been fairly impressed. You get a 10 slot bookshelf (the default level, you can pay more for more space) and access to most of the O’Reilly library (3600+ books). Though you are limited to checking out the ten books (most books are one slot, some are concidered two slots) at a time, they can leave your shelf after a month. This works fine for me as I don’t see myself reading 10 computer volumes in a month. I can keep the two or three tutorials I may be working on and fill the rest with references for current projects. The serveric after the initial 14 days is just $19.99 a month.
So far, I have been pleased with the service. It allows me to have access to the latest tech books for an affordable price, and doesn’t clutter my appartment.