Online Book Engines: Safari and Books 24x7
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Safari is an online book engine that is jointly owned by Pearson and O’Reilly. All books that are published by these publishers are automatically formatted for Safari and made available to anyone who has a subscription to Safari. If you have a subscription, you can read the entire book electronically, search for a keyword across the entire library or a subset of the library, bookmark well-used pages in the books you’ve read, make notes for your co-workers who also have subscriptions, download chapters to print or read offline, or copy code directly from the book into your programs. You can sign up for a 2-week trial from Safari Online. Monthly subscription rates can be as low as $19.99 depending on the number of books you choose for your bookshelf.
Books 24x7 has all the same features as Safari, but a slightly different set of books. Books 24x7 is a direct competitor to Safari and as such, typically carry only the books published outside of Pearson or O’Reilly. Exceptions are made when Books 24x7 buys the electronic rights to use a Pearson or O’Reilly book. This was an arrangement that was made for the IBM Press books that are published through Pearson. You can get further information about the subscription details and prices from Books 24x7.
IBM employees have a paid subscription to Books 24x7 and you can sign up to use it through this internal site: Internal IBM Site for Books 24x7.
I’ve used Books 24x7 to review books and table of contents, searched for specific topics in a set of books, but one of the key benefits is their newsletter. At least every week I’m sent a note telling me about the new books that are available on the engine. I end up seeing titles that are very interesting and useful that I wouldn’t have known about without this newsletter! Another thing that I’ve recently discovered is that some of the books have a mp3 teaser available that allows you to listen to someone reading part of the book to you. This is great for commuters or for anyone who wants a break from reading!
Let me know if you’ve tried these engines and if you see benefits to using them.