Acck! ebooks!

So, I’m probably (long story) taking this class focused on web2.0, scripting, etc. I’ve not taken an academic class focused on web2.0 technology, so I am excited about that. I certainly read enough about web2.0 and experiment with things (and can’t count how many conferences, seminars, etc. I have attended), but it will be interesting to get a more scholarly perspective on it. Who knows, I may find my second master’s degree program, too!

It’s also been quite a while since I’ve taken an academic class with a textbook. A real honest-to-goodness textbook ($$$). Not since I was in the chemistry program (another long story) have I looked at the cost of the textbook at the store and thought — acck!

I’ve looked on ebay, craigslist, amazon, the libraries (neither the academic or public libraries in the state have the edition I need), etc. and well… it is still expensive.

I realize that my perception of books has changed over the last few years.
To be honest, without sitting down with the book, I’m not sure I want to invest in it. I do not want to buy a book unless 1)I really really can not wait for one of my libraries to own it or have a copy available 2)it is really worthy and I will reference it regularly or cherish it for some other reason. Otherwise, I will borrow it, google it, or trade for it.

So, that is how I find myself at the e-book counter. I’m giving http://safari.informit.com/ a try. Safari is an ebook library, a website portal of paid ebooks. Currently, I’m testing the free trial to see if it is worth it, or whether I should just buy the full ebook in a downloadable format via ecourse OR go buy the textbook at the bookstore, the old fashioned way.

So far, my experience is making me think that safari is not the way to go for ebooks. Sure, you get access to a large library of reference and textbooks, but it is sort of expensive. I’ve yet to find a way to print more than a page at a time. Perhaps, that is part of the paid package, but I can’t find anything at the website which gives more information about printing. So, to print out the chapters/self exam, I have to print each page, one by one. What a pain!

I also find the navigation to be a little bit quirky. While I like being able to skip from chapter to chapter via a linked table of contents, the html version doesn’t seem to match the print version content, e.g., the self test is split over more pages in the html version.

Need some help with the site? Good luck. I couldn’t seem to find any help pages and the site map is just a re-hash of the drop down menu links.

Of course, I was willing to overlook the fact that I’m going to feel kind of weird not having a 1200 page textbook on the first day, but I was thinking the trade off between a lighter backpack and more functionality would be worth it.

Bookmarking is available which is cool; as is the ability to generate a pdf (too bad it is only chapter by chapter though). However, printing is problematic, Copy and paste doesn’t seem to work, and well, it is expensive. I am beginning to wonder why anyone would bother to use this service.

I may able to use some of the firefox annotation/webclip products, too (haven’t tried that yet).

Anyhow, I have 8 days left to change my mind.

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