O’Reilly DRMless High Quality Technical Ebooks

O’Reilly is one of my very favorite technical book publishers, right up there with Peach Pit and Take Control Ebooks. O’Reilly earned a reputation almost immediately for reliable, useful high quality books about operating systems, development processes and procedures, programming and scripting languages, and quality books about creating for the Web. They’re the publisher with the nifty animal covers. They also realized very quickly the importance of the Web, and of community, and that it was both possible and worth taking the time to produce digital versions of their printed books. I beta tested Safari Books Online, the O’Reilly digital subscription service way back when, and am still impressed with their policies and the quality and utility of the content and the user experience.

I note, by the way, that O’Reilly Ebooks have all the quality of their print books, and no DRM. Here’s the official O’Reilly statement:

When you buy an ebooks thru oreilly.com you get lifetime access to the book, and whenever possible we provide it to you in four, DRM-free file formats — PDF, .epub, Kindle-compatible .mobi, and Android .apk ebook — that you can use on the devices of your choice. Our ebook files are fully searchable, and you can cut-and-paste and print them. We also alert you when we’ve updated the files with corrections and additions.

Initally the books were all only available in high quality easily navigable .PDFs; now O’Reilly is releasing books in “bundles” with multiple DRMless file formats:

When you purchase an ebook bundle (currently available on a select set of titles as part of a pilot project), you’ll get access to all three of the formats we’re currently supporting. Since we began selling PDF versions of many of our titles, we’ve offered free updates to reflect published changes in the books; the same will apply to the Ebook bundle, which will replace the PDF option on those titles in the pilot program.

You can find a complete list of O’Reilly titles with sample chapters here. The books available as ebooks are clearly marked.

Copy Protected CDs not Supported by Apple

Remember the Celine Dion CD that not only wouldn’t play on a Mac, but wouldn’t eject and could even damage your Mac? Well there are others, and Apple has published a Knowledge Base article about the problem.

The gist is that these CDs are known not to work:

  • Shakira: “Laundry Service”


  • Jennifer Lopez: “J To Tha L-O!”


  • Celine Dion: “A New Day Has Come”


Apple adds “The audio discs are technically and legally not Compact Discs (CD format), and the CD logo has been removed from the disc. In the logo’s former place is the printed message:

‘Will not play on PC/Mac'”.

The article offers a few suggestions about methods of ejecting the disc, but you may have to send the Mac in for repair. Apple makes it very clear that this repair is not covered by warrantees or AppleCare.

Obviously, some people do violate copyright. However, they are in the minority, and copy protection schemes don’t work, and some damage hardware. Sony’s scheme has already been cracked—via a magic marker, or a post it note. The method is explained here as well. They have deliberately violated the CD Audio specifications by not starting the data at the specified location, and storing data where it isn’t supposed to be stored. Because such CDs do not follow the specifications co-created by Sony and Philips, Philips, like Apple, says such copy protected CDs are not Audio CDs, and will not allow their cases to display the Compact Disc logo.

CD-Audio Boycott

The latest copy protection idiocy is a Celine Dion CD that not only won’t work in your CD-ROM drive, it can damage it.

My spouse and I, both proud owners of iPods haven’t bought any new CDs this year. We’re not planning to either, though we usually buy about fifteen a year for personal use and another ten or so for gifts. We’re perfectly willing to pay artists for CDs or MP3s, but we refuse to be told where, and how, we can listen to them, or what we can do with our property. We also resent being treated as thieves.