O’Reilly Safari

By Deane Barker on May 23, 2005

Does anyone else use O’Reilly’s Safari service? It’s an online book library I subscribe to for $10 a month.

I get five books on my “bookshelf” at a time. I can read the full text of these books online. A book has to stay on the shelf for 30 days, then you can swap it for something else. For a little extra money, you can download chapters as PDFs to print them (truth be told, you can print anything, but they break the chapters up into a dozen sections, so it can be a pain).

What’s handy is that you can search the full text of all the books in the system, or just the books in your bookshelf. And you can limit searches to just code samples.

I get an email every week or so listing new books on the service. All of O’Reilly’s books are there, of course, but they have agreements with a ton of other publishers. What prompted me to write this was that they must have just struck a deal with Microsoft Press, because the “New Titles” email today was about 60 titles long and 90% of the them were from Microsoft Press. If you’ve seen it on the shelf at the local Barnes and Noble, Safari has it.

Anyway, it’s a handy service. It gets me out of a couple of jams a month, and for that, it’s well-worth $10.



  1. That is awesome. I didn’t know they had an email with new books. I’ve been using them for a while, except I signed up through DevX Premium. Through DevX I get their articles as well as the Safari bookshelf.

    I also use and subscribe to Experts-Exchange.com and have been happy with it. You can usually get quick answers to stumpers. Being a solo developer EE is a great help. When I worked in a group setting I had a handful of people to bounce off questions, EE serves that function for me now. Although recently the answers have been slower and less than expert on some things I still subscribe and get good advice for 96% of my questions.

  2. I’ve used it – in fact, I’ve now signed up about 3 times. However, I find browsing books through the site to be painfully slow, and as such, not a lot of use for me when I’m trying to figure out how to do something.

    Once a year or so, I try again, see if it’s any faster. Perhaps they could move towards an AJAX (aka buzzword du jour) style interface to speed things up. The potential is great, just waiting for an implementation that suits the way I read that sort of book.

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