O’Reilly CD Bookshelves

· technology ·

Somebody (I'm afraid that I can't remember who, and can't seem to find the entry concerned) mentioned the O'Reilly Unix CD Bookshelf in the comments on an entry a little while ago. I couldn't afford the full priced version, but I managed to find a used copy on Amazon. It was sold by Alibris, and only set me back £10 including postage from the States — bargain!

It arrived a couple of days ago, and I'm really impressed by how O'Reilly have implemented the CD bookshelf. You get 7 whole books in HTML format on a CD (I've copied the files to my hard drive for convenience), plus a book fashioned in genuine paper for good measure. In this collection, you get 'Unix in a Nutshell, 3rd edition' as your paper book, and all sorts of goodies in HTML format, including 'Learning the vi Editor', and 'Mac OS X for Unix Geeks' — yay! The HTML versions are very well laid out, with lots of links to jump between chapters or books, and a very neat search page which will find stuff in any of the books. This is actually a huge advantage over paper books, as is the ability to copy and paste useful bits of code straight from the text. But you can't read it in the bath, unless you are very, very careful (or you have more money than sense).

I have one slight niggle, though. In these days of on-demand publishing, I would have thought that it would be possible for customers to select which seven titles they would like in their CD Bookshelf from a small range of books on that topic. For example, in my CD Bookshelf, there's a copy of 'Learning the Korn Shell', but I would have preferred Learning the bash Shell. Of course, for £10, I'm really being picky here, but if I had paid full price, a little more flexibility would be very welcome. Either way, I've got lots of lovely geeky reading in store over the holidays.