eReader: Companion eBooks at Manning

[Content Note: Ads, Disability]

Husband bought a couple of paper programming books this week, and is finding (surprise!) that they're kind of heavy to lug around with him. So we were heartily shocked and more than a little pleased to learn that the publishers of these particular books -- Manning Publications Co. -- had included inserts in their paper books such that you could register an account with them and download ebook versions of the paper book you already owned. Sweet!

And they don't just limit you to one version: you can get mobi (Kindle), epub, and pdf versions, as well as a zip file download of code examples. Which means that he can read the epub version on his secondhand Nook, and later mark up the PDF version with a stylus on our Galaxy Note. And this is obviously freaking awesome. Best of all, the Manning downloads appear to be DRM-free. (They may have social DRM or watermarking; I haven't checked. Note that those do carry privacy issues.)

This isn't just a nice bonus for everyone. For many people, being able to switch between a print version and an electronic version is a disability issue. If your wrist breaks or you hurt your back or you develop a hernia or your arthritis starts flaring up or any number of other ailments suddenly drop in like they do, you are still able to enjoy your hobbies and/or perform your work without knowing that you're going to have to shell out thousands just to replicate your library into a format that's compatible with your disability. I cannot describe how psychologically important that is.

So here's a shout out to Manning Publications Co. for being awesome.


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