Home > software, tech > Why I don’t buy computer books anymore

Why I don’t buy computer books anymore

My friend Pradeep had recently written about his resolution to read more books. When I saw Clinton Forbes post ‘Do you still buy computer books?‘ I realized that I my book-buying habits have also changed lately.

Like Clinton and Pradeep, I love books. Over the last 8 years since I started working, I have spend considerable money on buying books. Also, I often visit bookstores and spend time there. Whenever I have traveled outside the country I have made it a point to visit the local book stores and buy books that are not available in India. And I used to buy some book or the other every time I visited any bookstore. I used to joke that me going to a bookstore is like a goorkha taking his knife from its sheath – they just have to draw some blood (likewise, I just have to buy something).

But lately I have reduced the number of books I am buying. The reasons I can think of are:

  1. I don’t find as many interesting books anymore. Most of the newer books I see in the bookstores are about some API or the other – and I am now capable of learning most APIs using publicly available documentation. The more such books I read, the lesser I would be needing them in future.
  2. Many of the books are of very temporary value. I find myself less and less willing to part with hard-earned money to buy these books.
  3. I already own a copy of most of classics – books, unlike the ones mentioned above, are worth re-reading after a few years.
  4. The books I really want to read are not available in India. For instance, I really wish to read ‘Programming in Haskell’ – but it is not available in India.
  5. I don’t like business policies of some of the bookstore. The one I visit most often is Landmark at Forum – the place is nice, spacious, and they try to keep it organized. But this is the only bookstore I have come across which charge sticker prices for technical books. So I browse for books at Landmark, and order them online from Sapna (from whom I get nice discounts; if you are in Bangalore, I recommend Sapna). But I no longer buy a book on impulse – often, by the time I get back home, get to my computer and browse for the book on Sapna, I would have changed my mind! 🙂
  6. I have an Oreilly Safari subscription. I really like Safari. Often I want to skim through a book, and refer something – Safari is very cost-effective for that. The only downside with Safari is that many “academic” books are not available on it.

I don’t miss not buying books. And it’s not that I have stopped buying completely – its just that I don’t buy as many as I used to. I haven’t reduced the time I spend on reading either – but now I spend more time reading stuff online. The only downside is that reading on a computer doesn’t have the same “feel” as holding a book in your hand, and I sometimes miss the aroma of a new book.

Categories: software, tech
  1. March 14, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Check out the comments in Clinton Forbes’s post to see why people *still* buy computer book 😉

  1. April 1, 2007 at 11:15 am
  2. April 1, 2007 at 4:44 pm

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