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I Should Have Guessed

November 28th, 2009

I just bought a book on Objective C from Amazon Japan. The book, Programming in Objective C, by Stephen G. Kochan, is supposed to be very good, and came recommended by a friend. It teaches Objective C from scratch, focusing on the Mac, and ends by teaching you how to write a program for the iPhone–exactly what I wanted. The C++ class I’ve been taking is good, but from what I’ve seen online, I’ve been getting the impression that it’s not exactly the direction I wanted to go in. This book looks like it’s exactly what I need right now, especially as I plan not to take an online course next semester (too busy at school).

There is one down point to all of this: a promise made in the back of the book, where the publisher advertises a “Free Online Edition.” I should have guessed that they were lying and it was a scam. In the details listed in the book, they just say to enter a coupon code and to “complete the brief registration form.” Then you’ll have access to your book online “for 45 days.”

I was hoping to be able to take the book with me to the U.S. over Christmas vacation in electronic form instead of lugging the rather large tome around with the limited baggage allowances. The promised online edition sounded great for that purpose.

What they, of course, don’t tell you is that the “brief registration form” requires you to enter your credit card number, without which you get zip, nada. Once they have that, you have to remember to cancel before they start charging you. And even if you do all of that, you’re limited to 10 days or 100 page views, and then you have to start paying at least $23 a month. You can download chapters, but only 5 of the 25 in the book.

“Free.” Yeah, right. If you pay $23 on top of what you paid for the book, then you get “free” partial access to flash-limited web version–getting all the chapters as downloads would cost about $100 or so. The author may have done an excellent job, but the publishers–as always–try to trick you into spending money on something you’ve already paid to own outright.

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