This week has left me scrambling a bit. Early in the week I received an email notifying me that I will be losing access to the O’Reilly Learning Platform. I’ve been enjoying access to their online library of ebooks and videos as a benefit of my ACM membership.
While I appreciate the convenience of a subscription service for technical and business books, this again feels like a kick in the teeth from O’Reilly. O’Reilly was originally an anti-DRM champion and made it a point sell DRM-free versions of their ebooks directly from their website. Several years ago they decided to stop selling DRM-free ebooks and switch exclusively to a subscription-only model. (You can still buy O’Reilly ebooks from Amazon and other sellers, but many of them come encumbered by DRM technology and are locked into a proprietary reading platform like the Kindle. Thanks but not thanks.) At the time I was disappointed, buy shrugged it off since I had my ACM-provided O’Reilly subscription. Now it looks like I will be left holding the bag as O’Reilly and ACM have failed to come to an agreement to renew the subscription contract.
I can’t justify spending $500 per year to maintain an individual subscription. For that kind of money, I think I’d rather purchase good old paper books. The kind that continue to work if the company goes out of business or decides to pull the rug out from under you in some other way.
Now I have to dump my reading queue out to a file and figure out how best to get my hands on the books I really want to read. Thanks for nothing, O’Reilly.