Safari Books Online
I’m not the salesman type, and it’s pretty hard to impress me (OK, it’s not that hard but I hope you get the point) but now I’ll make an exception and advertise a service a little (I’m not interested financially).
I bought many books before – from eternal classics, like Pro ASP.NET 3.5 in C# 2008 and Introducing Silverlight 3. You know, the types of books you read every year or two. OK, I have some more permanent books, like the GOF Design Patterns, for the account.
I did this for a while, and piled up a bunch of books which after the one and only reading (and using a little as reference) typically being used to collect the dust from the room (and contributing to the weight you have to drag around if you are moving).
I always liked gadgets and I thought that since I ordered these books from Amazon anyway I might as well cut back on the shipping costs and bought a kindle (to be fair, it costs almost exactly the same in Hungary, since I have to pay 25% VAT on ebooks, and regular books pay only 5%, figure it out).
I bought books for my Kindle, took them everywhere and read them happily – but prices were still high, which resulted in one or two (mostly one) books a month. I figured that there has to be another way (not the illegal one). I imagined an online service like a library on technical (software development) books I’m interested in. It turns out I was right, a quick google search on the above topic brought up exactly the same question on Stackoverflow – and the answer was Safari Books Online.
I fell in love with it – you pay some (laughable) fee and read for it whatever you like (I’m yet to come across a book I searched and unavailable through the service). OK, you have to be online. Since I live my life in constant internet access it wasn’t a real constraint for me.
So if you are like me and would like to access your learning material cheap and legal then don’t hesitate to try it out. Now they have some nice plans which further reduce the price.