O’Reilly announces plan to sell books “by-the-chapter” in PDF

Tech media company, O’Reilly, has started selling and site-licensing books in PDFs by chapter — or in their entirety. O’Reilly today rolled out this new feature on 714 books. All these titles are also part of a program called the “Copyright Clearance Center RightsLink” project, that will give customers “the option to purchase reuse rights of book content for their Intranets, newsletters, course packs, and websites,” says O’Reilly.

According to the press release, using Scott Raymond’s “Ajax on Rails” as an example, the new plan offers the following options (see the links along the right hand of the page):

  • Purchase the printed book for $39.99
  • Purchase the entire book in a PDF format for $27.99
  • Purchase a chapter for $3.99 each
  • Purchase reprint rights for portions of the book
  • Purchase a site license for the entire book or a portion of it
  • Also, you can read it online through Safari, an electronic reference library for programmers and IT professionals. (No relation to the Apple browser by the same name.)

  • Observation: This is not exactly from the “content wants to be free” school-of-thought. However, as I recently purchased an entire O’Reilly book for something that was contained in one chapter, I can see how I would have chosen another flavor if this vending machine approach had been available. Also, I like it when authors can sell more stuff. If this helps them do it, great.