Heads up – this is going to be a little self-serving. But still accurate.
Buy O’Reilly Press books.
Many of them are the computer “standards” on a topic. They are (usually) well written and typically well edited. You can often get them direct from O’Reilly press at a discount, and if you buy a e-book you get multiple formats. That is “ONE”
“TWO” is Safari Books Online – which has certainly cut down on my book purchases. You can subscribe to the entire library, which in more than just O’Reilly books and includes videos, or get a plan such as 10 books at a time for $14.99/month. You have to keep books for 30 days (?) before swapping them or dropping them, but this lets you have access to expensive books, reference books, and the occasional “what about this topic” without having to come up with the cash – and without sometimes having buyer’s remorse.
“THREE” They have a daily (i think that friday, saturday and sunday are the same) special. For about $10.00-$15.00, you get to order a selected e-book on line and download it. Over 300 days, you have a chance to add signficantly to your library. If you have DropBox or Sky-Drive, you immediately can have access to references at work and at home. To be honest, i would rather have books in hard-copy (trees are renewable and recyclable – electrons get tired after a while). You can find out more at reilly.com – or subscribe to the RSS “Deal Feed” on the site.
Academic Press and Manning have similar programs – i typically check them out at Tech books deals of the day from Rob Warner. Thank you, Rob.