Safari Books On line (English version)

After a long experience with O’Reilly, we decided to try their service “Safari Books Online”.
This article will explore the pros and cons of this courageous service, which we believe will give you many satisfactions.

La versione italiana di questo articolo è disponibile a questo link.

The O’Reilly’s Safari service lets you buy a monthly subscription right to access more than 12,500 titles.
The service includes two “sizes”:

  • with a complete online access from $ 43 per month
  • one with a limit of 10 books per month from $ 23.

To these costs we must add the VAT, which in Italy is 20%. We tested the full subscription for a month.

How it works

Depending on the size, you may have a limited or less access to what are called “Book slots”. For instance, compared with $ 23 subscription, you will have the right to consult freely 10 books, changing them once a month.

We must say that this is an expensive subscription, although there is the possibility of a super size reduced from $ 10 per month with 5 books slot, and which is accessible only after a first pass.

The first important aspect to consider is that there are not only the texts from O’Reilly, but also many others like Apress, Addison-Wesley, Manning, Microsoft, Adobe, for a total of over 30 publishers.

Depending on your subscription then you get the “print tokens” that are used to download chapters of books in pdf format unprotected. Typically there are 5 tokens per month.
You can buy tokens at other print $ 2 each. Download the entire book is cheaper than download individual chapters. Eg

  • “Testing Extreme Programming” download is 13 tokens ($ 26)
  • “JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 5th Edition” is 20 tokens ($ 40) which is almost the same price as the version we have eBook.Poiché 5 tokens for free, we have a discount of $ 10. Whereas the price of $ 50 version of stamens is the electronic version is 80% of that paper.

The search engine is well done, and you can also refine the search to the type of text. For example, after searching “Database”, you can restrict some about “Linux”, but the search is not fast: Google blazing speed set the standard on 2 seconds-answers!

If you own a mobile phone the latest generation of the mobile version of the site is very easy to use, and then allows you to read the text on your iPhone.

It ‘also provided a short version iPad, which should allow offline browsing.


The subscription management interface is very flexible and can change the level of monthly subscription, to know the amount of the final invoice and the date of expiration.

Conclusion: Be Green

In a rapidly changing world as the computer, print reference manual is cumbersome and would be prejudicial to the environment. The proposal to have acccess to a vast number of titles is interesting.

The most annoying is the inability to see “offline” selected the books, anyway the mobile functionality has proven effective even on UMTS medium-low speed, and this is not simple to do.

For personal use, the combination “medium” 10 or 5 books is satisfactory!

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