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Safari Books Online Review
By: James Payne
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    2011-02-01

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    Safari Books Online Review


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    Looking for a way to keep up with the latest technology without getting buried under a literal mountain of books? Check out Safari Books Online, a great way to keep you on top of your game without adding any weight to your bookshelves.

    Being editor-in-chief of a network of sites related to technology means that you constantly have to keep up with the latest in technology. Did CSS just get a new upgrade? What is the most current version of PHP? What got changed in the most recent version?

    There are so many languages and technologies out there, it would literally take a mountain of books to keep up. And since I live in a modest home with a wife that constantly eyes my ever-growing army of bookcases, I have to be selective about the books I buy.

    Add to that a busy freelance life that revolves around research and a natural love of books, and the problem can quickly get out of hand.

    I was first introduced to Safari Books Online when I began this job three years ago as a lowly writer. Having to write upwards of fifteen tutorials a week on a variety of languages, it was a great relief to have a virtual library at the tip of my fingers.  Let's face it -- I don't know a single writer or programmer that doesn't need a handy reference book now and then. Writing 60 articles a month, you can imagine the mountain of books I would need at my desk to help keep everything straight.

    If it weren't for Safari Online, I would have literally been buried.

    So What Is Safari Books Online?

    In simple terms, Safari Books Online is a book repository whereby the good folks at O'Reilly Media, Inc.  and Pearson Education have created a virtual library of books that you can peruse (and purchase) from the comfort of your couch, for a small monthly fee. Think Netflix or Gamefly, only for books.

    The service offers books from a variety of publishers, including O'Reilly, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, Peachpit Press, Sams Que, John Wiley & Sons, and Apress Publishing (to name a few).

    There are four major categories, which are then broken down into sub-categories. The first is the Technology Collection, where you can find books that cater to programmers, focusing on languages, operating systems, network administration, and certification guides.

    The second category is Business Collection, geared towards business managers, trainers, and IT managers. It covers topics like marketing, financing, management, and career enhancement.

    Next up is the Creative Professional Collection, which is all about graphic design and web development. It also features hobbyist books for photographers and videophiles.

    Personal Enrichment is the last category, which rounds out the library's coverage by discussing devices like the iPad and other mobile devices, and offering books on basic computing.

    Overall, the four categories feature some 10,000 books and videos, with around 80 titles being added every month.

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