Read an E-Book Week – Software For Reading eBooks

While there are plenty of eReaders out there nowadays, you don’t necessarily need to purchase them to read an eBook.  You can easily read eBooks on your desktop, laptop, and yes, even your phones and iPads.  Here are some pieces of software that can help you read eBooks on the desktop:

Some apps that are out there for mobile devices include:

  • Amazon Kindle App – eBook support for iPhone, BlackBerry, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone 7
  • Bluefire Reader– eBook support for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Mobipocket – eBook support for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian Os, Palm Os, and ePaper devices (Cybook, iLiad)
  • OverDrive Media Console – eBook support for iPhone, iPad, and Android

These are just what I know about so far.  Have you tried another eBook app out there?  Leave a comment about it!

Read an E-Book Week – Accessing eBooks 24/7

Throughout this week, we’re looking at eBooks, from a tech perspective.  Today, I want to show you how you can access eBooks online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thanks to some services out there.

First of all, I want to give a shoutout to companies that provide online titles to libraries and retailers.  Thanks to them, you can check out eBooks from your local library from the comfort of your own location.  Whether I’m snowbound in Cleveland or on the road for a conference or even on vacation, I can go to my local library’s website and check out eBooks from their site.  I can download the books to my computer and then read them either on my computer or transfer them to a device – like my Sony Reader Pocket Edition – to read.

Another place I get my tech eBooks fix online is through SkillSoft’s Books 24×7 online collection.  You can find more about Books 24×7 on their website.  What I like about the Books 24×7 collection that I have access to is that it is primarly technical titles.  Some of the publishers that I’ve seen in this collection include Wrox Press, Microsoft Press, Apress, IBM Press, Intel Press, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, IGI Global, and Paraglyph Press.  I can dive into a variety of topics – from Hardware to Databases, Software Engineering to Programming Languages, Desktop & Office Applications to Enterprise Computing, Security to Business and Culture… these are just a few of the topics they have to offer.  Some of the titles I have in my Books 24×7 folders include Microsoft .NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise, Professional Joomla!, Securing Web Services: Practical Usage of Standards and Specifications, and Professional ASP.NET 4 in C# & VB.

A third place I get my tech eBooks fix online is through Safari Books Online.  You can find more about Safari Books Online on their website.  Before I was introduced to the O’Reilly Deal of the Day, I would get my O’Reilly book fix through my Safari Books Online account, as most of the O’Reilly books that I was interested in at that time were part of this collection.  Publishers I’ve seen in this collection include Que, Apress, John Wiley & Sons, Microsoft Press, Adobe Press, Sams, Manning, Cisco Press, Packt Publishing, New Rides, and Peachpit.  Topics are wide as well – from Java, Apple, Python, Web, and Microsoft development topics to Security, Windows Administration to Network Administration, Math & Science to Business… so much to choose from.  

Now while these last two options can be expensive, I get access to them as part of my ACM Professional Membership.  For $99/year, I’m not only an ACM member, but I also get access to professional development tools including access to ACM’s Books 24×7 and Safari Books Online collections. While I have other benefits to being an ACM member, access to these books is probably my most-exercised benefit.

These are just a few places on where to find technical eBooks online.  Got another place I haven’t mentioned?  Leave a comment on this post!

Read an E-Book Week – Wiley Makes Me Smiley

Disclaimer: Although my work is related to the topic at hand, these are the thoughts of Sarah, the book junkie, and are not necessarily those of my employer.

As a developer, I’ve always been a fan of those books with the red covers and the yellow text along the spine. Those would be the books from Wrox, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. When I wasn’t looking into O’Reilly titles, Wrox was the second publisher I’d go to. The more I settled into the development realm, Wrox became the first that I turned to.

In my day job as a web developer, I like having Wrox books on my desk as a reference, especially Professional C# 4.0 and .NET 4. While my physical bookshelf at work has all sorts of reference books, I also like that Wrox has eBooks available, not just at their store but also through public libraries and other retailers. This means that I can check out a book online and have it on my desktop at work as a reference for a couple weeks at a time (provided there isn’t a queue ahead of me). If there’s high enough of a demand and my library doesn’t stock the book well, then I could consider purchasing the eBook.

Besides being able to check Wrox books out at the library, the other thing that makes me smiley about Wiley is their Sybex imprint. When it comes to IT imprints, Sybex is the first I think of – their “Mastering” and “Instant Reference” books are great references to have. Sybex is also my publisher and has been a great company to work with. So of course they make me smiley!

These are just more technical publishers that I simply adore. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about a couple online services I have access to that get me my technical eBooks when I need a quick reference and know that these services reliably carry them. Stay tuned!

Read an E-Book Week – O’Reilly, O RLY?

Disclaimer: Although my work is related to the topic at hand, these are the thoughts of Sarah, the book junkie, and are not necessarily those of my employer.

This owl made its rounds long ago, but every time I hear “Oh really?”, this is one of the things I think of:


The other thing I think of when I hear “Oh really?” is O’Reilly.  Growing up in the techie realm, I simply adored O’Reilly’s books.  I looked forward to seeing what the next animal would be, as well as the next topic.  It wouldn’t be later in life, when my friend Jeff mentioned that he contributed to an O’Reilly book, that I would realize that not all O’Reilly books had animals.  But that still didn’t stop me from buying O’Reilly books.

My camel book (Perl) and rhino book (Javascript) have seen a lot of desks over the years.  In college, we used some O’Reilly books as our textbooks, and that made me happy to see that even my instructors had respect for O’Reilly books.

O’Reilly is another one of the publishers that fuels my love for eBooks.  From their O’Reilly Deal of the Day to the other deals for members (including a % off new editions or maybe a “buy x get x free” deal), there are plenty of deals for their titles in eBook format.  Add to it that their titles are DRM free – I can download my titles to any number of machines and devices.  Even better, when I purchase a title, I get the title in multiple eBook formats – including APK (Android), EPUB, PDF, Daisy (accessible), and Mobi (Mobipocket).  I don’t have to spend money on each format.

Here’s a sample of some of the books that I’ve purchased recently, thanks to some of O’Reilly’s many eBooks deals:

O'Reilly Titles

While flying home from the 2011 Microsoft MVP Summit, I read a few of the O’Reilly books – including Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton.  Reading this book gave me a look at the world of Wil Wheaton, including just how much of a geek he really is.  After spending most of a week with my geeky guy friends and their guy ways, this book grated on my nerves a little.  But that’s a good thing – it really captured Wil’s geekiness and his typical guy train of thought.  He really is just a geek.  Overall, it was a great read that I would recommend to Wil Wheaton fans.

Whether I want reference books or books by popular geek icons, I’m sure the O’Reilly site won’t let me down.  There’s a wealth of deals, over a wide variety of topics.  Publishers and imprints available on the O’Reilly site include O’Reilly, Microsoft Press, No Starch, Paraglyph, PC Publishing, Pragmatic, Rocky Nook, Sitepoint, TidBITS Publishing, and YoungJin.

So thank you, O’Reilly, for your great deals and for the DRM free eBooks!  Keep it up!

Read an E-Book Week – MEAP, MEAP!

Disclaimer: Although my work is related to the topic at hand, these are the thoughts of Sarah, the book junkie, and are not necessarily those of my employer.

Before I got an eBook reader, I would read eBooks – in EPUB and PDF formats – on my laptop and on my desktop with Adobe Digital Editions, which means that you don’t necessarily need to use an electronic eReader device to read eBooks.  I have to thank Manning Publications Co. for encouraging my interest in eBooks, as they had me review a couple titles for them – specifically IronPython in Action and Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginnersin PDF form.

Today’s topic is all about MEAP – the Manning Early Access Program. This is Manning’s program to allow readers to get early access to chapters of a book as soon as they become available.  It also allows the readers to interact with the author(s) via author forums.  Authors can make changes based on feedback from the MEAP readers.  When a chapter is updated, MEAP readers can get the latest updates as well.

MEAP books cost the same as an eBook or print book but get you access to the chapters early.  This feature alone caught my eye with Manning.  While I keep an eye on multiple tech publishers, I’m always curious to see what’s coming out through Manning’s MEAP program.

The MEAP books I’m debating on at the moment include:

MEAP, MEAP… check out the MEAP titles today!

Read an E-Book Week – Introduction

Disclaimer: Although my work is related to the topic at hand, these are the thoughts of Sarah, the book junkie, and are not necessarily those of my employer.

Thanks to Nathan Blevins‘ retweet, I am now aware that this week is “Read an E-Book Week“.

For Read an Ebook Week, you could try one of my books. Get them at Amazon: or Smashwords: than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Growing up, I read a lot of books.  I grew up with Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein.  I spent a lot of time at my local library, checking out sheet music, mystery novels, and miscellaneous fiction.  As I grew older, I was introduced to the works of James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, and Nora Roberts.  While I started embracing my inner geek, I switched over to Michael Crichton, Douglas Adams, and Neal Stephenson.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2010… I was getting ready to fly across the country for the 2010 Microsoft MVP Summit.  I didn’t want to pack a stack of books and realized that it was time for me to embrace eBook readers for my own personal use.  That’s when, after research on my own, I decided to go with a Sony Reader Pocket Edition.  I liked that I could read eBooks without glare on an electronic device.  I also enjoyed that I could check out books from my local libraries.  And yes, my Sony Reader Pocket Edition followed me across the country again this year for the 2011 Microsoft MVP Summit.  What can I say?  It’s nice to carry a “stack of books” on a flight across the country thanks to the invention of eBooks and eBook readers.

Throughout this week, I will talk about my adventures with eBooks and recommend some techie eBooks while I’m at it.