Just so you know - you've completely lost a customer. After years - decades really - of a highly dedicated customer (whose friends have written books you have published) you threw it all down the drain in one e-mail.
I will never purchase another book published by O'Reilly, or any company associated with O'Reilly, or associated with O'Reilly himself or any of the executives at O'Reilly. I sure as heck am not going to buy any technical books from O'Reilly by Amazon.
The things I liked from O'Reilly, now gone, are:
1. PDF, ePub and Mobi formats, all DRM free, so I could read them in the ideal format for each device I read them on. And, I have a lot of devices: several Macs and PCs, several iPads, several Kindles (used almost exclusively for fiction as technical works are horrible in non-PDF), several phones of various kinds. I could put both the ePub and PDF into iBooks (not my favorite app, but it does sync) and read the ePub on the subway if I wanted, and the PDF on the desktop and iPad (cause, as I said, ePub is terrible for technical books). I like my fully properly typeset color, indexed PDFs!
2. Buy it once, own it. Did you ever see me subscribe to Safari? No? Ever wonder why not? For the same reason that I don't use Adobe products anymore except Lightroom (which is still a purchase not a subscription), and why I dropped JetBrains when they moved to their subscription model and then re-joined them when they went to "Subscription + keep your start of subscription version forever". I don't rent stuff. I buy it and own it. Plain and simple.
I'm glad that there are other publishers out there like Pragmatic Press and Apress that have been publishing good content, because you just lost a highly dedicated customer who always shopped O'Reilly first even for non-O'Reilly books. Congratulations, and shame on you.
I like subscriptions, to be honest. I don't need to "own" all this stuff (whatever "own" might mean) -- tech books and specific versions of software tend to have a relatively short shelf-life and I like both O'Reilly's, Adobe's, and JetBrain's models of paying a predictable fee every month and having access to everything they provide. To me it's very freeing.
The last time I purchased an O'Reilly book, digital or physical, was probably... 2002?
With technical books, this is a pretty hard sell at the Safari prices. The lowest cost option is $39/month for one user. It's pretty difficult to justify that as I need to read a minimum of one technical book per month, and all of those books would have to be ones available in Safari.
I've used Safaribooks in the past because an employer paid for the team, and I thought it was quite good, but it isn't good enough to replace all of my technical book needs, nor is it worth $39/month.
I, like the parent, have directly purchased quite a few books directly from O'Reilly online in the past. The nice thing was that unlike Amazon I could count on updates if there were corrections and such. Now I will just look elsewhere for books and O'Reilly just loses my money.
Also; IMHO, the O'Reilly article is nothing but PR spin. How is this reinventing anything? Safaribooks has been around for 16 years as a subscription service. There is nothing new here; all they did was kill off a sales channel. That's pretty much the opposite of invention.
Safari is quite radically different from the O'Reilly products I used to pay for. I'm forced to use a browser or their proprietary mobile app to read the books. Only the mobile app support offline reading. It's a completely different value proposition - it costs much more than I would normally spend on O'Reilly ebooks each year, but it would get me access to many more tech books than I'd normally buy or read. Unlike ebook purchases, if I stop subscribing I lose access to everything.
I think it ends up being a good value if you reference a wide variety of books and a very poor one if you have narrower interests. I'd be more interested if they offered a plan that fit my usage profile. I don't care about access to thousands of books with no restrictions, I'd be happy to have access to maybe two to four full books (of my choosing) at a time for a more modest monthly fee. Maybe a credits system like Audible? I think there's a lot of ways to design an ebook subscription service that are more customer-friendly than forcing everyone into an expensive all-or-nothing choice.
I want to like Safari as an option, but it's way too limited for me. Frankly I'm only buying 2-3 books a year now, mostly relying on technical articles or online documentation (bad as that may be). I may go through another burst reading 8-10 books over a summer again, but not at the moment.
Although this change doesn't affect me, I mostly bought print books via Amazon anyway, because I find digital copies harder to recall/work through.
For me, it depends on the "stuff" and its longevity. E.G. for JetBrains, I'd rather pay ~$600 once and for all, since I doubt I'll move off of it any time soon. Instead, to get updates, I'll now pay $299 per year in perpetuity (after yr 2). So if I use it 10 more years, I plunk out almost $3000.
Even all the little junk adds up. $10 for Zoom, $12.50 for Slack, etc. etc. As a developer / consultant working in many different languages on a few platforms, I'm spending close to $2000 for subscriptions each year. It's a bit much.
I don't know: $3k for ten years of updates to a key tool I use for work -- that seems low. Like, well below my budget for coffee.
$2k/yr total does seem high. That's higher than my costs for my various work-related subscriptions. But if that $2k provides tools you convert into 50x or 100x that in income... I mean, it seems like money well spent.
As a developer I got the best value from open source tools. I like the feeling of control that gives.
I do pay for Fastmail and for Dropbox, because my email and data are very important. And a good laptop is a must and I like MacBooks.
But my general rule of thumb is that subscriptions have to give a 10x return of investment to be worth it. And I'm sorry, but most tools don't deliver. You're claiming a 50x-100x return, but that's ridiculous.
As a dev I could do all of my work on Linux, using completely open source tools and I can get by with completely free documentation or by reading source code. I know that because I've been doing it for the better part of my career.
Basically productivity has more to do with knowledge than with tools and I'm not talking of the superficial knowledge that you get from beginner books, but the kind that you get by working on hard problems, reading academic papers and doing deep dives in source code that isn't yours.
So seeing OReilly change their business model, after years of recommending them, well, I'm not a cow to be milked or their personal ATM.
In this case, if you email me directly, I'll email you the latest version of that book by hand.
Also, for anyone who wants to own individual ebooks, please help yourself to this coupon: iLoveEbooks, good for 30% off at pragprog.com.
There's other benefits too, like coupons for free or heavily discounted upgrades when new editions of the book are published. I bought the first edition of "Practical Vim" back in 2012 and I've gotten five years of free updates including the second edition.
So if you subscribe for 12 months, and then cancel, you actually have to revert back to a version 1 year old. It's pretty messed up.
Plus the updates have REALLY been lacking. They have missed the quarterly releases regularly and it just feels like very little has actually been added.
It would be, but that's not how it works.
I believe you just get to keep using whatever you were using when you stopped payments. You have access to minors updates to that version, but not to major updates from version to version.
I think it's a smart balance.
Read that again. It's exactly how it works.
Lets hope Affinity can put out a competitive DAM tool.
If I had to guess, I suspect Lightroom will end up as only a subscription offering at some point. It's hard to see why it would remain an outlier. I'm sure there would be great hue and cry but I actually use it enough that I wouldn't be all that bothered.
For some people (like me) Netbeans is awesome. I love the fact that it can use pom as its own project model and IMO it aligns better with OS keyboard shortcuts (Win and Linux at least) than VS, eclipse and IntelliJ).
Be prepared for weird reactions though: it seems everyone "knows" it is awful.
"the growth of membership on Safari far exceeds the individual units previously purchased on oreilly.com"
... that doesn't explain why the two options couldn't co-exist.
"In addition to giving our customers the choice and convenience they expect"
... no, they just took away the choice and convenience I expect.
Over time, I've favored different formats based on what devices I have owned, and bugs in the apps themselves (OS X 10.11 Preview had terrible PDF rendering for non-retina devices). So there goes my choice on what I want to buy when, and what format to use where.
I hope this doesn't encourage InformIT, Manning, PragProg or RockyNook to go down these roads. Until then, I guess they will get my money.
We're committed to DRM free options wherever possible. We're coming up with some new stuff, but DRM free pdfs and epubs are pretty much our core business.
We love you for that :)
O'Reilly's decision raise an interesting question tough. I bought many books via O'Reilly shop, they are still accessible but for how long? For users, digital distribution is risky. I like it tough, but after seeing such services closing (loosing all for what i have paid for), i tend to be less confident.
Edit: I am uncertain of the eBook / PDF offering at other retailers.
For Amazon, when you buy an eBook, you are essentially given a license to use it. Amazon can revoke that - we've all heard of people moving to another country to see their entire library disappear, only (hopefully) remedied after enough hell was raised on some website.
As for Play Books, lets imagine you are a Android developer working on the next great thing, and you are an ethical person. Still, you can make a mistake. Suspension of an app is considered a strike against the good standing of your developer account: “Additional suspensions of any nature may result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts.”
You would lose everything, eMail, books, etc. So while I don't expect these problems, knowing there is a small possibility, with almost no chance of remedy by a human on the other end, dissuades me from investing lots of money in that ecosystem.
Have we? I've moved between countries and updated my Amazon account a couple of times, and still have everything. It sounds like you're taking about a bug, not licensing.
> We do not currently have the DRM free PDF versions available from any online re-sellers.
Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but not on anything Kindle related
Oh, interesting, I wasn't aware of that. Thanks!
Still, that's a sizable amount in some countries. They could offer direct discounts to students or people from these countries (but I can't find that anywhere, they seem focused on selling to academic institutions only).
I have bought book(s) that are still not released and have benefitted from them already.
Also the price difference in those websites vs direct from O'Reilly is quite significant. (Twice or more than twice.)
I would have preferred if they would have raised their book prices but kept the same business model.
For my company, the single-title sales are often greater than Safari subscription income, and I am not sure sending visitors to Amazon is going to make up for the lost sales on O'Reilly. I would have much preferred if O'Reilly sent customers directly to my publisher's website, for people who want to purchase PDFs or ebooks from other vendors besides Amazon.
Reading utility nonfiction/technical titles are not the same as binge-watching Netflix or plugging into a Spotify playlist all day. Readers have very specific needs and learning priorities, and the all-you-can-eat model doesn't work for everyone.
For example, the page you (re)open to has a tiny font(s) size(s). Scroll away from it, and you get a readable font size. Scroll back, and that page is tiny, again. Sometimes, it takes scrolling to the start of the next section to get the normal font size. Or the previous section, or page. Anyway, everytime you relaunch the app and pick up where you left off, that page has a tiny, unreadable font size. My fix for it now is to pop the table of contents popup/list, find and go to the previous section, and then scroll forward to the page I was at.
I also like to read on it with a dark background and light text. Sometimes the border is dark, as well -- as expected and desired. Other times, it's white -- its brightness decreasing readability. Solution for this? Kill and relaunch the app. I've noticed some vague sense of correspondense of this behavior with how I'm using/opening/reopening the app at the moment the undesired behavior occurs, but I haven't defined it fully and keep forgetting what I do happen to notice.
There are other irritations -- also longstanding ones in the web interface. Those are the ones I happen to remember, at the moment.
Anyway, I like having access to the library -- although more and more new titles seem not to be O'Reilly nor Addison-Wesley or the like, but what seem to be more "second tier" titles.
At the same time, if I'd taken the dollars spent on Safari and just bought titles, well... I'd have a lot of titles that will never "go away" on me.
P.S. I have the "traditional" O'Reilly subscription. I gather there is now a second type of subscription and app. Unlimited local downloads (accessible only through the app), unlike the 3 or less at a time that the "traditional" subscriptions provide. And some sort of epub or somesuch format that may allow some more formatting choices O'Reilly wanted or somesuch. But a more limited selection of titles, and no titles that insist upon other formats, such as the Addison-Wesley titles. So I gather, second-hand.
Anyway, I'm talking about the "traditional" subscription and corresponding Android app.
My favorite approach is when the author makes the book available online, but still sells the PDF and physical book. An example of this is Exploring ES6 . As a user, it has tons of benefits.
Before Amazon dominated the book space, it used to be that you could go to a book store and browser through a book before you bought it. That way you could do a quick check to confirm it has what you're looking for. But with paywalled digital books you can't do that. For technical books this can be very frustrating, since you might be looking for something more advanced, while the book barely touches on the subject. Having the book available online means you can browse first.
Heck, I wouldn't even mind paying first, if online companies had better return policies. If I get a book and a few minutes in I realize it wasn't what I was looking for, I want to be able to get a refund without having to send 20 back-and-forth emails with customer support. In some cases I just pirate the book, and after giving it a browse, I'll decide to either buy or trash it. Whenever a book is good or helpful, I'm happy to pay because I understand people need to survive. On top of that, it's also in my best interest as a reader that the author continue producing amazing content.
Last perk of having the book freely available online is you can access it anywhere without having to install or login to anything. If you lose your copy, or you're at work you wanna check something... It's really easy to pull up the browser. In addition to that, you can also link coworkers to references in the book, which might get them to buy the book as well.
Since November 2016, Safari sales have actually picked up a lot, sometimes 2x or 3x the same level as one year earlier, and there were no individual ebook sales in April 2017.
As a publisher, I'm impressed, but there could be other factors that explain these trends. I am also apprehensive about whether the upward Safari trend will continue ...
(Disclosure: Manning author twice, Leanpub co-founder.)
Now, at Leanpub we're going to be rolling out our own courses in the next couple months, so we agree with O'Reilly that there are lots of great ways to produce and distribute learning material. However, the book is the best, most general and timeless way. We're committed to selling DRM-free ebooks in PDF, EPUB and MOBI directly from on our own site for the long term.
The ebook world should not just give up and sell everything through Amazon. I like Amazon--they do a great job of focusing on customers, I have Amazon Prime, and I'm really happy that Jeff Bezos is a good owner for the Washington Post. But we should not let Amazon become the only seller of ebooks.
Stay tuned for something else we're planning in this regard in a few weeks...
It was my favorite place to buy books. It seemed like the one place that had the model closest to being right.
- They used to have an ongoing discount of 45% and more on special holidays.
- They were DRM free in multiple formats and they gave you discounts on ebooks if you had purchased the print books.
- They had regular updates to ebooks posted in one single list that you could keep up with.
I wish I had purchased all the books on my wish-list before this was announced.
The Safari subscription model makes no sense to my use-case.
I guess that makes Informit.com and No Starch Press my goto book stores. Also Manning and Apress, but their selection is weaker.
As a nice bonus, every day, they make one title available free - a good means to dip into new technologies just out of curiosity:
Also thank you for the humble bundle, please keep them coming!
No Starch are great too though. I own a few myself :)
This is significant because early last year MarketLive was purchased by private equity, merged with some other ecommerce companies, and relocated to Texas. So it's quite possible - and here I have no particular knowledge - that the MarketLive platform is being deprecated or entirely abandoned, and this was a more attractive option for O'Reilly than trying to rebuild all that stuff on a different platform.
Trying to cover a supplier issue with bullcrap about "market trends" is not great; doing it from one day to the next is just terrible for customer relationships.
Source: I also use Lightning Source for my tiny publishing operation. Yes, the quality is not the same as the traditionally printed books, although personally I don't think they're that bad (those I've seen, anyway). In my case, as a small publisher, I would never be able to afford to operate warehouses profitably, because we only have a couple of books. We actually tried, but it was too expensive and time consuming at low volumes. We also stopped selling paperbacks, because it's very difficult to complete on the shipping costs with the likes of Amazon.
There's also a separate problem of pirated printed books, which are of very poor quality.
I've had this issue with some O'Reilly and Manning titles ported purchased from Amazon in Mobi format.
As far as I'm concerned there is not one thing good about the entire platform. I hate the reader, I hate their tablets, I hate their ebook store, I hate their reader app.
They don't provide a damn thing that isn't inferior to other options and have no particular benefit to helping you use their wares in an open fashion. They are only interested in options which lock you to their platform.
Its as if walmart was only interested in selling you dvds that work only in terrible walmart branded dvd players that require you to use walmarts subscription service instead of netflix.
However, technical, computer, electronics, physics and math books are almost all uniformly terrible from Amazon (or even epub). These are long-term references that need a proper print layout option (PDF) and be unencumbered by DRM. A 2002 edition of Mastering Regular Expressions is virtually totally applicable today, 15 years later - but imagine if I had bought this in a DRM'd Sony version, or a Palm .prc (now part of Amazon)? I'd be SOL.
I rent things, and I own things. Just because I rent some things doesn't mean I want to rent everything. By the same token, just because I buy things every day doesn't mean I never want to rent anything.
We are truly living in the Idiocracy.
It's the same set of reasons I buy books from Apress, Pragprog, NoStarch, Packtpub and Manning (to name a few others).
I have tried Safari Online through an employer subscription, but I just cannot get used to reading long books on a browser and hence don't use it (don't even talk about apps on other platforms). I need my books in specific formats that I can use in book reading apps across different platforms. I don't like being connected all the time just to read a book. For me reading books is mostly an offline-like activity (except if I have to search about something online).
Books are also very different from other kinds of media that are more of an ephemeral nature, like music, movies, TV shows, etc. Though many technical books might become outdated quickly, there are many books that do contain almost timeless pieces of information and wisdom. I don't buy books on Amazon. I don't buy books in Apple's iBooks store. There is no way to know upfront if something has DRM or not. I don't like supporting DRMd content for books.
O'Reilly, if you're reading this, your decision to stop selling eBooks like you used to is a very poor one for your readers. You may end up making more money from unused Safari subscriptions, but you won't have the fan following you had before.
As for comparisons with Pluralsight, I despise such models that are filled with DRM and restrictions.
To Apress, Pragprog, NoStarch, Packtpub, Manning and others - please do not change your models and remove DRM free eBooks in multiple formats from your stores. I, for one, will stop buying whenever something like that happens. Subscription models are very poor in user experience and don't provide adequate freedom to read whenever/wherever.
Informit.com is a Pearson owned site and sells the following tech imprints:
Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Sams, Microsoft Press, Cisco Press, Pearston IT Certification, Big Nerd Ranch, Peachpit, Adobe Press, and New Riders.
And we currently have no plans to change that model-just make it better!
I'm writing to let you know about some changes—including new opportunities for you—at O'Reilly.
First, as of today, we are discontinuing fulfillment of individual book and video purchases on shop.oreilly.com. Books (both ebook and print) will still be available for sale via other digital and bricks-and-mortar retail channels. Plus, every book and video will still have a product page on oreilly.com, offering customers two options for getting the content they want: Safari membership (starting with a free 10-day trial) and, for books, a "buy from Amazon" button.
Why the change? It's clear that we're in the midst of a fundamental shift in how people get and use content. Subscription services like Spotify and Netflix are the new norm, as people opt for paying for digital access rather than purchasing physical units one by one. We've already seen this in our own business—the growth of subscribers on Safari far exceeds the individual units previously purchased on oreilly.com. That's the reason for the change.
And with Safari, O'Reilly is uniquely positioned to give our customers the choice and convenience they expect. When we launched Safari back in 2001, we knew we were investing in the future of publishing, and today, that future is here. Since 2014, when O'Reilly became sole owner of Safari, we have refocused our business around its potential as a membership platform. It's working—just this week, Outsell Insights published a report on Safari that gave us a "Strongly Positive" rating and noted that, "Safari shows that continuous reinvention through the addition of new tools onto a solid content base provides an extremely strong foundation on which to build a business. As an example, it also shows the kind of timescales necessary to build a strong reputation for quality content, one on which a more tools-focused solution is possible."
That's where "new opportunities for you" come in. We've developed successful new products like Live Online Training and video Learning Paths, available exclusively on Safari, and we have more in the works. We'll be in touch soon with more information about these new ways we can work together on Safari. And of course, we will continue to publish books and videos that are available both as stand-alone products and on Safari.
I'm not spending $399/year. Maybe if it were $8/month like I spend on Netflix and Crunchyroll or Amazon Prime (paid annually), sure. (Granted, this household uses Prime for delivery and ignore their streaming stuff mostly.)
Goodbye O'Reilly. Not only will I not buy Safari, I will not buy any O'Reilly product ever again.
I want to read O'Reilly books as PDFs. Properly typeset PDFs. And I don't want to buy from anyone other than O'Reilly. And I tried Safari, but it's not the same as reading their books as PDFs.
I bought your Spring books, and a few others. Next time I want to buy a book, I'll go straight to Manning and not O'Reilly.
After-all this is the company that's built a multi-million dollar conferencing business that doesn't pay speakers, and often doesn't meet their travel and hotel costs
Oredev in Malmo are a O'Reilly sized conference that not only pays travel etc. but also book it all for you
It's not just large swanky conferences, believe community events like CSS / JS conf cover costs as it helps get diverse speakers (and ultimately it shows you respect the speaker)
Let face it O'Reilly are profiting off their speakers hard work and without speakers there is no conference
They're also much cheaper.
Safari has always been an also-ran side platform. The "growth of subscribers" on Safari may exceed direct sales, but what's driving that growth? Is it really because Safari is Just That Awesome? Does the management team have any idea?
This is a classic example of a business with a reputation for treating its customers with respect deciding to trash that reputation by treating its customers and content developers as livestock that can be farmed and sweated.
And regarding Safari being an "also-ran side platform", I'm wondering if maybe you were thinking of the old SafariBooksOnline platform. They switched to Safari a couple of years ago which is definitely more modern and cheaper, although it does do away with the tokens you would get every month to download whole books or chapters.
For me, this doesn't trash their reputation or otherwise make me think less of them. They've obviously decided that direct fulfillment was too much of a hassle and that other retailers could do a more efficient job. I guess I might feel different if I bought a lot of books from them, but having used their subscription service for around 8 years now, I just don't need to buy tech books anymore.
I take it you've never attended an O'Reilly conference. They really are trash.
I gladly said "yes"
Even then, all books were on bittorrent within weeks regardless of if you have DRM or not. As a victim (so to speak) of piracy I'd rather provide more convenience to the customer over ineffectively making life harder for the pirates.
I'll be the judge of that
As a long-term buyer of lots of O'Reilly ebooks - it's disappointing, but it's their prerogative if they want to exit the market. It's not like we entered into some lifetime contract where they agreed to sell me ebooks forever.
From O'Reilly 's point of view, this looks rational though.
Joel Spolsky  and Jeff Attwood  called it in 2008:
>What is stackoverflow.com?
>But here’s the concept:
>Programmers seem to have stopped reading books. The market for books on programming topics is miniscule compared to the number of working programmers.
Then they made doubly sure by making SO a huge success!
In music publishing, most of the money in the mainstream has moved from music sales to live performances, with streaming subscriptions bring up the rear.
Isn't the same thing likely happening here with O'Reilly's conference business probably dwarfing everything else?
This is on par with Apple moving to butterfly switch keyboards across its entire laptop line, or Netscape deciding to ditch its browser and rewrite it from scratch. Tragic, user-hostile blunders. And it wouldn't completely surprise me if this marked the beginning of the end for O'Reilly.
I'm talking about the the change from Navigator 4.x to the MAS-based buggy crashy slow XUL monstrosity in 1998-2000. That was a terrible change, it killed Netscape as a company, almost gave Microsoft complete control over the future of the Web, and ended up necessitating Firebird/Firefox.
I find that, with few exceptions, Kindle programming ebooks are annoying and unpleasant. Some of the "textbook"-mode ones (where you can highlight diagrams and not just text) are tolerable on a Chromebook in tablet mode, but just barely.
And there's no way I'm going to pay $399/year for Safari, not when I'm currently spending $0-50/year, and certainly not for the privilege of using what people tell me is a mediocre mobile app. So going forward, this means that I'll buy maybe one O'Reilly book every other year through Amazon.
Does this also mean that O'Reilly is no longer going to be offering "early release" books for people who don't buy Safari? I think that something like 90% of my technical book purchases in the last 10 years were early release.
On the flip side, I totally understand them going DRM-only for digital publishers. O'Reilly PDFs are way too easy to find for free with minimal Google-fu.
This will end up going the way the textbooks went.
Has the introduction of evermore draconian DRM in movie disc formats prevented them from appearing on pirate sites?
I just got this via email and I'm very disappointed too.
DRM issues aside, Kindle is still terrible for tech books. Code samples, data tables, etc. They all look crummy. The pdf ebooks from the Oreilly store had far superior formatting.
I have stopped buying Kindle books due to no longer being able to back up the files (KFX switched to a new encryption type). I rarely buy technical books, but O'Reilly was my go-to due to actually being able to have the real files offline.
Edit: Okay, Google don't make it easy and there's no way to do it from Android. Go to https://books.google.com.au/books and click on a book in your library. If the publisher has allowed it, there'll be a cog in the upper right corner that will have "Download PDF" and "Download EPUB" available.
You have to use their general search product to find enough info to bring up the exact title you want to buy.
For example you can't on the play store find all the oreilly books that aren't drm encumbered or find all the books on a certain topic in a certain range of years directly via its interface.
I wonder why.
In fact I remember that when Youtube got adquired by Google search got worse.
I've never read a whole book on Safari only for one reason: the HTML formatting in the browser (as well as in the Queue app) is terrible.
It still amazes me, how a publisher such as O'Reilly, who by definition should be aware of importance of such things as typography, almost entirely neglected this in Safari. Books in Safari are just stream of text, without a proper layout. I truly wonder, if Safari employees have read a whole book on their platform themselves.
If I needed to read a whole book — I would still buy the paper version directly from the publisher or Amazon.
The news, that O'Reilly is gradually switching towards a subscription-only model in the future, are very disturbing for me.
That means that overall quality of books ranges on the platform.
May I ask you, would you still prefer a Safari version of this book over, say, a PDF?
349 euro is a very steep price
Difficult to buy more O'Reilly books
From the blog post:
> That’s clear even among the largest, most stable corporations: a few years ago, a study predicted that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies won’t exist in a decade.
Perhaps this move is the first step to be one of the 50% disappearing
Edit: this page explicitly says that readers need to be compatible with Adobe DRM https://support.ebooks.com/hc/en-gb/articles/214119286-Guide...
For example, some of the equations in 'Hands-on Machine Learning with Tensorflow' aren't rendered to images properly. They probably look fine in the print and PDF versions of the book, but I don't get those as a Safari subscriber. I get an HTML version with equations rendered to images, without anyone checking the quality.
Amazon does sell 'print replica' editions of some books, which are as good as PDFs if you are OK reading within the Kindle app, but IIRC that's not the case for O'Reilly books, which are only available as HTML-ish versions.
How many technical book does one read in a year anyway? The $399/year subscription model doesn't make sense unless your employer is paying for it.
The whole point if going to O'Reilly was DRM free books that I can use on my various devices (iPad, Sony Reader).
Guess it's off to Apress in the future. Can't load Kindle or Kobo books into the Sony.
But there was O'Reilly, other smaller but equally good online vendors, and also rans.
I think now we're seeing the start of the same decline and disappearance of online outlets.
That smile on Amazon boxes is starting to look like a smirk.
Also, O'Reilly produced and ran a number of excellent quality conferences (ETech anyone?) These disappeared a long time ago. I also remember them sponsoring a whole range of meetups and smaller conferences with books given out for free being quite common. O'Reilly has changed, and they need to change too.
Perhaps the internet and search engines have overtaken technical books in general? Perhaps in seeing their market share decrease over the years they need to make drastic changes to adapt?
Apress, Informit, and Packtpub you are now #1, BE #1, stay customer first.
It'll be interesting to see how having all of their digital content locked behind Safari will affect their ability to attract authors. Maybe it'll work out well for them overall, who knows.
I can only hope that a statement like this isn't used to pacify the masses until this issue is relegated to obscurity. In the mean time, I'm looking at other publishers (thank GOD that many of them I heaven't heard of are discussed here) for content and refuse to pay for a $400/yr safari subscription while NEVER REALLY OWNING ANYTHING.
Seattle library cards are available not only to anyone in who works, lives or owns property in seattle/king county but also those who have a card in one of several surrounding county library systems. Further non-resident cards may be had for $85 a year.
Unlike having a personal account you cannot download items for offline viewing, can't access video training, and can't access books in progress.
Still this provides access to the bulk of the material you may want to read.
I would consider this fair use format shifting. Legal opinions probably vary but this was essentially indistinguishable from just reading the book so long as the script didn't grab a page per second and pretty easy to do.
> We currently have the Kindle versions of our title available on Amazon.com and the ePub version at Google Play or IBooks for your mobile devices. We do not currently have the DRM free PDF versions available from any online re-sellers.
When I have bought from O'Reilly in the past, I have always defaulted to PDF.
Now, not only does that option go away, everything will be DRM going forward.
It only takes one person to "break" whatever protection there is on the content, its almost entirely irrelevant just how much protection is on that content, because only one person needs to go through the process.
One makes a guess that as digital delivery becomes a bigger part of the pie for them, the cost of managing physical inventory becomes more burdensome to them. So they said, screw it, we'll join the Borg and be assimilated.
(Personally, I get access to the Safari online service through the library at work, so I don't have to worry about it too much).
But they also are ditching selling ebooks
Maybe decision makes sense from economic perspective. But they really have to consider who their audience is. These are the people who still complain that Google Reader was killed and loss of good will and PR consequences of this decision will come to haunt them for years, regardless of the current financial reality.
Will you still be able to login and access the digital books or do you need to download all of them before a certain date?
At Pragmatic Bookshelf, however, we focus on the individual, highly skilled developer looking to improve their skills and those of their teams. We don't offer a broad array of tech topics, just the ones we feel are important.
We focus on readers who like to collect and own their books, DRM free in epub, mobi, and PDF formats (you get all three for one price, and can re-download forever, or as long as we're in business ;)
It's a different market, and a different approach.
So don't go hating on O'Reilly for this move—if it doesn't suit you, you're not their market. And that's okay. It's a big world.
Publisher, Pragmatic Bookshelf
Lack of DRM (both soft and hard) was for me the biggest feature when buying from O'Reilly. It's what made it quite unique and why I bought most of my tech-related eBooks there.
I had a somewhat unpleasant surprise when I bought books directly from your website and found them to be watermarked. Didn't see that written anywhere on the site before I purchased...
Going forward, the only time I'm gonna be buying O'Reilly ebooks is when they're on Humble Bundle.
2. There were discounts when registering the purchased printed book
3. There were discounts for newer editions of a book
Subscriptions are fine, but they quickly add up. I'm in the process of cutting out stuff I don't use. As it's quick to forget you have been paying for service "X" and haven't actually been using it to get your moneys worth. Safari would quickly fall into that category for me.
However there are plenty of online stores which sell DRM free books, so no big deal really.
Hopefully, if it gets enough upvotes, they'll consider it.
I don't need tutorial videos or any of that other crud, I need books.
If I could get all the high quality programming books I want for $15 I wouldn't think twice.
This is just their attempt to get in line with what other publishers are offering.
Spotify/Netflix makes perfect sense for a subscription model because of the way we consume musics/videos. The same can't be said for technical books. Not for $399 a year anyway. With that price point, seems like they are hoping to get employers to pay for it.
I guess the main difference is not that the price ratio between subscription and individual items is off, but rather that most consumers don't want 1 book a month. It's a bummer that they don't give people an option, but I'm still a fan of Safari...and I hope this move will mean they drastically improve the Safari app, much like Netflix has doubled down on Streaming now that they don't do DVDs.
When I read technical books, its going to be because there is a specific thing that I want to learn, and when I'm done with the books, I expect to have a new skill under my belt that I can start polishing. I certainly don't do this at a rate of 1 book a month.
Yeah, the fact the pricing is offered at rate that is way more than most people's (including mine) purchasing habit is a bummer, but the inclusion of DRM meaning that you lose access to your "purchase" once your subscription ends is the deal breaker for me.
The fact there is a lot more content in the Safari offering may look like a good value in the marketing copy, but that just means more noise to filter through for me. I only have limited amount of time to spend on consuming content after all.
We have regular holiday sales (including a 4th of July sale starting tomorrow), update our eBooks, and offer the different DRM-Free formats including PDF, MOBI and EPUB.