When Oreilly originally launched their Safari Books Online service in 2001 I was really excited. I love technical books but they’re expensive to buy and heavy to carry around. It turned out that they were expensive to read online too. Full access to Safari costs almost $500/year and a limited ten-books-a-month plan costs over $250/year. I don’t spend nearly that much money on technical books as it is, and while I’d save some time over just Googling for information that’s available freely online I’m basically a cheapskate.
Today I noticed that San Francisco Public Library offers access to SBO. A bit of digging showed me that the Oakland Public Library (where my lovely wife works) also have a Safari subscription. With my library card number I can about a third of the books on the main site – but that seems to be a broad and deep collection. There’s no downloading and the lynda.com videos aren’t available. But the price is great.