I do a lot of work-related reading to stay up to speed with current methodologies and technology. In the past, this has required a not insignificant personal investment (in terms of both time and money). While the time investment won’t be limited any time soon (short of changing careers), I have found a way to limit the dollar investment: O’Reilly’s Safari Books Online.
This site provides the ability to read (online) a huge variety of technically-oriented books, some not even published yet (“Rough cuts”) from publishers like Peachpit Press, IBM Press, Microsoft Press, John Wiley & Sons, Adobe/Macromedia, Addison-Wesley, Que, Sams, and, of course, O’Reilly. And it’s not just books: Safari provides links to related online content based on search terms or the page content currently being viewed, as well as instructional video.
I subscribe to the annual all-you-can-eat plan at $473 per year (also available at $43/month) because I read so much; I bypassed the cheaper 10-book slot plan costing $22.99/month or $253/annually. Compared to the total cost of books I read for work, $473 is not a lot of money and I can keep as many books in my online “bookshelf” as I desire – currently I have 150 books added. And if I find a chapter that would be especially helpful for future reference, I can always access it again online or use one of my five monthly tokens to purchase a downloadable PDF of that chapter.
And it’s not just dry technical reading… fans of the Missing Manual series will be happy to know Missing Manuals are available for online reading within Safari Books.
Disclaimer: I have no connection to O’Reilly or Safari Books, other than being a happy customer.