Every technologist recognises O'Reilly's books. Their animal-illustrated covers are usually seen on a developer's bookshelf, alongside Packt Publishing or No Starch Press titles.
Up until yesterday, anyone could buy an O'Reilly book directly from the publisher themselves, either in print or in a variety of DRM-free e-book formats. But that has now changed. O'Reilly has decided to throw everything behind their Safari subscription product and is no longer selling any books, paper or e-book, direct to customers.
Their article announcing the change is a little... businessy?
They will continue to sell their print and e-books through other shops, but that doesn't always guarantee they'll be DRM-free. I'd suggest using Kobo if you want O'Reilly e-books that definitely don't have DRM.
O'Reilly was the very first shop I added to my list of DRM-free Bookshops. I own a number of their titles, as both print and e-books. And I made use of their customer-friendly discount when buying alternative formats when I already owned one type of a book.
While some will say that their e-books are still available through their Safari product. A subscription model isn't the same as actually buying a product. For one, you don't own a product you access through this kind of subscription model, you only get access to it for as long as you subscribe. This may be too much of a financial hurdle for some. Simon Collinson, Digital Editor at Canelo Press, tweeted:
Yep. Think of the freelancers! People without a steady income stream will struggle to justify this (and Creative Cloud, Office, etc., etc.)
Secondly, there are accessibility questions here. Many people use an e-reader because of visual impairments or disabilities. Limiting access to a web browser or app disadvantages those people; many developers among them.
It seems that O'Reilly have taken a look at the figures and decided to put all their effort into Safari, at the expense of their bookshop business. While this may make financial sense, I doubt it will make long-term business sense. If there is one group of people that don't like being told how they can access information that's important to them, it's the technology sector.
Here are some other DRM-free technology related bookshops: