Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
All O'Reilly Ebooks 50% off today (oreilly.com)
80 points by dsr_ on May 6, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

I've found myself falling into this pattern, and wondering if others share it:

a. I see a 50% off book at O'Reilly that I'm interested in. b. I check the price at Amazon.com. The regular price is usually a few dollars more than the discount price at oreilly.com. c. I purchase the book at Amazon because it is just easier, even if it slightly more money.

I actually feel a bit bad about this: I'd rather give the money to Tim and Co directly. And, yes, I know it isn't that hard to do this from the O'Reilly site...

I much prefer buying directly at O'Reilly, given that they can sync the books straight to my Dropbox in both Kindle format and a variety of others, and I particularly like supporting them for their lack of DRM..

Exactly. I don't buy ebooks from Amazon as they only offer Kindle books, whilst I want the epub version.

DRM free and available in dropbox so can be read on my laptop, ipad and android phone at any time is key.

Also feels good to pay the publisher directly and not fund Amazons tax dodging.

I do though have way too many ebooks from O'Reilly and Prag Prog :)

Doesn't Calibre let you convert from Kindle books to epub?

Yes, but the fonts, layouts, tables, diagrams, etc don't translate that well... sometimes OK, sometimes really bad.

I'd rather get a epub directly and save conversions for books that aren't in epub format at all, like fiction/non-fiction kindle format. Text-only or mostly text conversions (e.g. mobi to epub) work much better.

You can hook your Kindle to your O'Reilly account, so purchased books will be sent directly to it.

That being said, you'll still have to enter in your payment information whereas with Amazon is one or two clicks.

Amazon Prime contributes to this. Once a year I spend a pile of money, which by my calculations probably isn't actually worth it. The value I get is how I feel much better about Amazon purchases and don't have to worry about considering what kind of shipping to pay for.

I am willing to spend a couple dollars more on Amazon in the rare event they dont have the best price just becuase of Amazon Prime. Sometimes I will even go to a bookstore to make sure the book I want to buy isnt complete garbage and proceed to purchase it on Amazon right in the store.

I value physical bookstores enough (and having something 'now') that I will spend considerably more at a bookstore. This is especially true given that I've probably also already spent at least a couple of dollars getting to a bookstore with my car.

I strongly prefer having a PDF to a .mobi (which comes with the PDF on O'Reilly).

This is in celebration of the day against DRM. http://www.defectivebydesign.org/

Out of curiosity, what do people think of reading a programming book in ebook form? I love using my Kindle for novels, but I tend to read programming books in quite a non-linear fashion, and like the fact that I can quickly flick through the book to find information about a specific topic. Having said that, I have not tried reading a programming book in digital form, so it may turn out to be better than I imagine.


It varies widely.

The O'Reilly eBook versions are very consistent. I really rely on the reviews on Amazon for the Kindle versions (there are often complaints of layout issues in code examples and diagrams).

O'Reilly is by far my favourite publisher/store for eBooks. If they can't lay out a certain technical book in a usable form in epub or mobi, then it probably can't be done. In those cases, I just use the PDF on my computer or on a large tablet (Nexus 10). It's all DRM free, multi-format so I can use whichever format is best for the content.

For diagram/image-heavy books I usually default to PDF.

In terms of non-linear reading, it's got to be printed books or PDFs with a proper TOC and bookmarks on my computer.

The ability to search an ebook can be tremendously useful.

I too often prefer using technical books in a non-linear fashion, and a paper book is often still superior for this, but there's not much difference, search can let you "flip through" the ebook quickly, and can find things an average index + Table of Contents (TOC) won't, or won't easily.

Good ebooks will also have links in the index and TOC that take you right to the item.

Note, after reading wiremind's comment: I use a 24 inch high quality WUXGA (1920×1200) monitor and PDFs for this; I can envision problems with smaller form factors and can't speak about other formats.

I use Safari Books for all my programming ebook needs. The best thing about it is searching through all books on the service. If I want to know about a specific class, function or concept I just type it in and get every book that mentions it and every occurrence in that book.

The downside is the Apps, they're slow and prone to crashing which means that the web is the only viable interface.

I read a lot of software books (just bought 2 more from this deal actually), and switched over to e-books about 18 months ago. I had switched over to e-books for everything other than software books about 3 years ago but I was worried about readability of code snippets, the skimming through the book as you mentioned, and more difficulty sharing the book with other people. The advantage was cutting down the giant stack of physical books that was overwhelming my book shelf.

I think the actual reading experience is a bit worse with an ebook on a Kindle compared to a physical copy. Some code snippets are wrapped to another line. I have had the best success with Kindle format on the Kindle, other formats are sub-par (and PDFs are unreadable).

However the big gain has been after I read the book the first time. Being able to pull up any software book at any time on a side monitor while working is fantastic. That is worth any and all frustration reading on the Kindle. The formatting in that case is perfect, and the lack of context switching is great.

Pro-tip: any Kindle book you buy from Amazon can be returned if the formatting doesn't work well on your Kindle. I have done this 2-3 times in the last year without issue and then I just buy the paper copy.

I prefer it.

First I have my library with me at all times. I'm pretty busy and never know when I'm going to get a chance to do some reading, so when the chance comes I know I will have my book with me.

Also I like keeping several pdfs open simultaneously when at my machine so I can cross reference. Even when I'm on the bus.

Searching. Copying code straight into editor.

Cheaper. Less trees. Less storage requirements.

I only buy technical books in ebook format nowadays.

The technology changes too quickly for us to keep killing trees and generating garbage piles of paper with last year's hot technology.

Your concerns about quickly flipping through pages are valid. I regularly read programming books in ebook form, mostly since they are cheaper, but it isn't a perfect experience. I tend to get used to searching and setting a lot of bookmarks. One other note: Charts, graphs and tables tend to not translate well to a smaller screen (I have a nook simple touch, YMMV)

Depends on the book, but on the whole I don't enjoy reading programming-centric ebooks due to the code examples: the line breaks tend to make it extremely difficult to follow what's going on.

It does depend on the device, though: Reading programming books on my iPhone is really bad; My Nexus 7 is better, and my (original) iPad is ok.

I tend to like ebooks for reference due to the searchability. I prefer physical copies when I want to learn a new concept/programming language/etc. I don't know why, but I just feel like I absorb the material better (probably all in my head, but still works out that way :) ).

I tend to prefer it, though not on my Kindle - The Kindle interface is optimized for linear reading.

On either an iPad or laptop, though? Having search is great. As is having the ability to have a whole stack of them with you at all times.

Big plus in kindle is highlight. During reading you can highlight all these crazy gotchas, summaries, reminders, and they are easily available to you everywhere

Well, you have indexes too, and ctrl+f so might as well be better.

Some people are confused whether the O'Reilly sale deal is in fact less expensive than Amazon. Important fact #1: This sale is for DRM-free e-books, which are only available from oreilly.com. Amazon sells only the Kindle edition, which is copy-protected.

To take an example I'm familiar with, Programming Android in e-book form in a choice of DRM-free formats is $18.99 at oreilly.com, on sale. Purchasing (sort of, Amazon can revoke your purchase) at Amazon.com costs $19.79.

But, and there's always a big "but," you can rent Programming Android in Kindle form for $8.96, which is a great deal for a programming book you may not need to keep around after you read it. You can even rent it twice if you are slow getting through it and it would be cheaper than buying the Kindle edition from Amazon.

Some people find reading code in e-books difficult. All the code in Programming Android is available for download, which you can read in Eclipse or Android Studio, with cross referencing and doc pop-ups and syntax coloring. E-books do have an advantage in that O'Reilly's "animal" series is all monochrome printing in hard copy, but the e-books have syntax coloring and color diagrams.

O'Reilly ebooks are always 50% off!

They send these promotions regularly, but you can always pay half the published price.

This does indeed seem to be the case. And since that means the original topic here is not really news, I'll use this space to point out that this is why, in general, I hate sales and companies that have a lot of them. Constant sales basically tell the customer that the sale price is the real price and you're a sucker if you pay full price... but you have to constantly check and watch and do a bunch of extra work to be sure you get the real (sale) price.

Please, just have a price and charge it. I know, I know, it's better for your metrics to practice price discrimination, and constant sales are a way to do that... but it pisses off customers who just want a simple, fair price. If you really need price discrimination, add "enterprise" features and let people who want throw money at you pay for things no one really needs. Just don't make me stop in the process of buying something because I know the price isn't actually the price and I have to wait until the price is corrected to the real price with a sale (and likely never actually remember to come back when the sale is on).

Having frequent free shipping sales creates the same effect. If I know you offer free shipping sales more than say... once a year, I literally will not buy from you if free shipping is not currently offered. And I will quite likely forget what I was going to buy once free shipping is turned back on.

The reason that so many online and brick-and-mortar stores have sales is, unsurprisingly, that they work.

The rational approach may be to prefer low, constant prices all the time. But neither the market nor consumers are rational. Look at JCPenney, and their "no sales, just everyday low prices" policy. Rationally, all their prices were slashed, and there was no need to wait for a sale or find a coupon. What actually happened is that no one felt urgency to go to the store, or excitement that they were getting a discount. This policy tanked, and has since been dropped.

I know it may feel spammy or artificial when e.g. Newegg is constantly running "amazing, once in a lifetime sales!!!", but fundamentally, these work. For every "rational" person who waits a year for free shipping, or drops their cart out of ennui over price volatility, there are 10 people who visit the site due to a promotion, and take out their credit card because of a coupon they have.

Trust me, I work in the retail space, and retailers measure the effects of promotions very carefully. These things work, and retailers must embrace them or lose money/market share.

>Please, just have a price and charge it. I know, I know, it's better for your metrics to practice price discrimination, and constant sales are a way to do that... but it pisses off customers who just want a simple, fair price.

Actually, it appears that that consumers do not want a straightforward price even though they say they do. It's non-intuitive because there is some unspoken reward mechanism for playing into the sellers' pricing games which contradicts what they complain about.

An article about the JC Penny "fair price" debacle mentions the research about "shrouded pricing" by Xavier Gabaix.[1]

Based on the submission here on HN, it seems like O'Reilly's "logical" demographic is not immune to this behavior.

[1] http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/25/11864178-fair-an...

I agree with everything you said except... "If I know you offer free shipping sales more than say... once a year, I literally will not buy from you if free shipping is not currently offered."

You will not buy an item unless it has "free shipping"? You must miss out on a lot of good deals. You do know "free shipping" is NOT free as it will be included in the price of the item so it's the total price that matters not if it has 'free shipping'. Having "free shipping" is not always a good (or the best) deal... I do wish all online stores would price stuff with "shipping included" as to make it easier to compare prices.

No... I wasn't entirely clear there. I didn't mean I only buy when shipping is free. I meant that there are certain places I shop online that regularly run free shipping promotions. Every two or three months, they have a promo code for free shipping with no change in prices otherwise. I only buy from these places when one of the free shipping promos is on.

60% for orders over $100, which they only do a few times a year. Beneficial if ordering higher priced books from other publishers like Morgan Kaufmann or Newnes, which I took advantage this morning.

Hacker News, what are the best books that you have read that are focused on mobile app development?

I'm reading Big Nerd Ranch's Android guide, and it's been pretty solid so far.

I recently bought and been reading through "programming 3D applications with html5 and WebGL" by Tony Parisi. Extremely well written and thorough.

Why buy an ebook when they offer Safari Books Online?

I've been able to discard hundreds of pounds of dead trees and reclaimed the associated storage space.

I was easily spending over $50 a month buying books before I became a subscriber.

As someone that reads a couple books a month I find that really interesting. It is pretty unclear from the website how much it costs, any idea what a personal subscription is?

How much is a subscription to Safari Books Online and can you read them on an iPad?

Pricing is $42.99 a month for an unlimited 'bookshelf'.

There are native iOS and Android apps in addition to the web interface.

I have a question, can someone help me better understand the fight against DRM? (please, not trolling or insults, I want to genuinely understand).

Is the fight against all DRM or is it against painfully annoying DRM implementations that provide no benefit to the user or is it a pricing issue?

Isn't the (at least initial) idea behind DRM to protect content creators from piracy?

My best description is that the "cost" of inconveniencing a customer (e.g. limiting device playback, etc.) will never really meet the goal of protecting content. This is because those who want it for free will always find a way to get it (at some "cost"). Those who don't have time/don't give a shit, will pay for the content because the opportunity cost of pirating something is greater than just paying for it.

That said, i find it really annoying as a parent to have to jump through hoops to make backups of my kids DVDs, or convert them to digital for the iPad. So, I'm not stealing anything as I already bought the DVD. I just want my kids to be able to watch it on the iPad.

I don't know of any DRM that "provides a benefit" to the user.

That makes a lot of sense, thanks. So the problem with DRM is primarily that is typically only makes things harder for legitimate users while not proving significantly effective against those determined to pirate the content

Nicely broken redirection on oreilly.com: - While searching for interesting ebooks, I open each new title in a separate tab, - I then open a new tab to log in, then "Reload All" other tabs... - ...and BAM, half the tabs are now displaying the same book.

Quite embarrassing for a programming books publisher.

Does anyone have recommendations on data analysis and big data books from the O'reilly collection?


You might want to check their Data Science Starter Kit collection


Thinking With Data's a great introduction too.


Highly recommend "Doing Data Science" (it's on list provided in the link above). The guest-lecture style chapters keep the material interesting (the author based this book on a class she taught at Columbia University) and as someone who was reading this part-time (alone), I enjoyed working on the exercises that are listed in the later chapters.

If you're interested in python, my wife says good things about "Python for Data Analysis." Supposedly quite readable and practical.


I agree. I am reading it right now and it's been great so far!

Packt Publishing is running a similar promo today: every ebook and video is only $10.


Thank you. I bought couple of books 80% off.

Considering how many of their publications revolve around web development, that website sure is ugly.

That moment you bought a book two days ago (sad frog).

I really like that O'Reilly publish publish them as pdfs.

You should perhaps contact their customer service. I had a good experience with them.

Amazon is still cheaper in most cases.

I don't have a kindle and O'Reilly offers more formats.

for a moment there I actually though this topic was about Bill O'Reilly's books.

I am glad I was wrong!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact