After last week's blog post about on-again, off-again discounts on certprep bundles, it occurred to me that readers may want to check into the excellent offerings available at Safari Books Online, a joint venture that involves O'Reilly Media and Pearson among other publishers, and that provides ready online access to over 20,000 technical books via a subscription program. Basically, if you buy 6 or more computer technical books or certification study guides/exam crams per year, you can do better by spending the same (or similar) money to get a Safari subscription instead.
Not exactly a search for big game, Safari can help in stalking IT certs and professional development.
The site is available at https://safaribooksonline.com, where official subscription information lists various bits of information about prices/offerings for two flavors of Safari -- namely the Safari Library (which permits access to an unlimited number of books and videos monthly) and the Safari Bookshelf (which limits the combined total of 'open' books and videos to a maximum of 10 in any given month). In addition, Safari Library provides access to so-called "Rough Cuts" which are books in the process of development, not yet published, made available to readers early as a kind of beta test, so they can dig into new topics and content before the books in which they appear are published and released.
Here are what the numbers look like for subscriptions, for individual subscribers (discounts are available for companies that purchase 2-25 subscriptions, as well as for organizations who purchase higher numbers of licenses for simultaneous access and use):
Safari Library $42.99 Monthly $472.89 Yearly
Safari Bookshelf $19.99 Monthly $299.00 Yearly
If you do the math, this works out to no less than $2 per book or video per month on the bookshelf offer. The real deciding factor has to be: "How many books or videos can you work on at once during any given month?" I suspect that most people, especially junior to mid-level IT professionals, could make do with the Bookshelf. I've had a complimentary Library subscription courtesy of Pearson for the past 5 years myself. Even so, I seldom need to access more than half-a-dozen books or videos at any given time.
Also, if you shop around online for coupons (Google Search), you can save anywhere from a little to a lot by waiting for a nice coupon to come along and then signing up for Safari to take advantage of same. Safari also offers a free trial for both Bookshelf and Library versions (10 days of access in either case) so can play the "try-it-before-you-buy-it" game if you like (warning: you'll have to provide credit card or other online payment info to get into the trial, and then jump through all necessary hoops to cancel the automatic recurring bills that start the day after the trial expires).
Nevertheless, I think this is a good deal for most IT pros to consider, especially those who are actively pursuing certification, continuing education, or who simply want to keep current in one or more technical areas in IT. Safari's search engine produces over 4,000 hits in response to "certification" of which at least half the items are relevant to somebody interested in some cert or another (and I also see all the major programs -- Cisco, MS, CompTIA, VMware, and so forth -- covered as well as plenty of more minor but still popular items -- such as PMP, CISSP, and so on). For most people $20 a month is not too much to pay for access to cert prep and professional development materials, especially those who are taking classes or boning up for one or more cert exams.