The newcomer is Packt's online library, found here. I've signed up for the free trial and can offer the following assessment:
- I like the cost, compared to Safari or Books 24 x 7. Packt is a little less than $200 a year, where the others are right at $500.
- The catalog size is less than what the competitors offer. Both Safari and Books 24 x 7 host titles from a list of publishers, where Packt is offering books from their catalog only.
- With the trial account, you get access to 9 free titles. I don't have an interest in most, but there is a Plone development title there and one on Microsoft Live Small Office, though. I think those would be interesting.
Packt currently has over 400 titles available in the section you have to pay to see, and they do seem to include what I would consider the best books in Packt's arsenal. For those unfamiliar with Packt's publishing model, they are no longer focused entirely on up-to-the-minute open source topics. They've split their catalog into two sides, open source and 'Enterprise'. Enterprise includes things like Oracle's SOA suite, so you can see the distinction between the two.
I always think it's better for consumers to have more choices in almost any arena. Viva la competencia! (Long live the competition!)
'Till next time,
Happy Online Reading!