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...
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 :)
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.
That being said, you'll still have to enter in your payment information whereas with Amazon is one or two clicks.
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.
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.
The downside is the Apps, they're slow and prone to crashing which means that the web is the only viable interface.
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.
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.
The technology changes too quickly for us to keep killing trees and generating garbage piles of paper with last year's hot technology.
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.
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.
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.
They send these promotions regularly, but you can always pay half the published 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 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.
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.
Based on the submission here on HN, it seems like O'Reilly's "logical" demographic is not immune to this behavior.
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.
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.
There are native iOS and Android apps in addition to the web interface.
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?
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.
Quite embarrassing for a programming books publisher.
Thinking With Data's a great introduction too.
I really like that O'Reilly publish publish them as pdfs.
I am glad I was wrong!