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What means do you use to get your game dev book fix? Do you pony up the big bucks for the thick books, or do you budget yourself and buy one at a time, or do you rent or limit yourself only to your library? Do you prefer to read them on your eBook reader?

How do you obtain your game development books?

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See also this question:… – Tetrad Jul 31 '10 at 22:26
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Inter-Library Loan - you're not just limited to your local library system, but they can get almost any book from any other library (in the US anyway). It's not as good as owning a given book, granted, but at least you can read it, get the information (maybe decide if it's worth buying).

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Many universities offer access to their libraries for guest students ... for a price. But, if you're going that route, you might as well take some courses. – sarahm Mar 20 '12 at 23:38

Safari Books Online has a pretty good selection. Only 22.99/month gives you access to read 10 books and preview every book they have.

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I'm a long time Safari subscriber and while I read a lot of books on there, I'd say it's pretty weak on games development specific material. It has the GPU Gems series (but these are available from nVidia's site anyway) but it doesn't have any of the Shader X books, has only one Game Programming Gems book (book 8 in the series). It does have a number of AI books, but not the AI Wisdom series. And it doesn't have Jason Gregory's Game Engine Architecture. – U62 Jul 30 '10 at 13:23

For development books it has been pretty rare that I've found the dead tree form more useful than other internet resources. Design books are trickier, but those are usually less of a reference and more of a read-front-to-back kind of book (which are easier to resist since my book queue is far too big already).

Then again, now that this Stack Exchange is up, you can always just ask those kinds of questions here, right? ;-)

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Took the words right out of my mouth. Save a tree, use the internet! – Noctrine Jul 27 '10 at 13:02
You can learn a lot online, but in my experience the really good information is in the books. There's often little quality control on internet articles and a few too many instances of the blind leading the blind. – Kylotan Jul 27 '10 at 17:30
@Kylotan I feel the same, not to mention I find it really hard to read e-books from my computer screen, and my Kindle is only really good for front-to-back books whereas I like to flip around and sometimes make notes in my "serious" books. – Ricket Jul 27 '10 at 23:47
There are a lot of bad game development books out there it has to be said. But there's also a horrificly large amount of junk on the web. Hopefully this StackExchange site will make the internet a more useful resource, but right now, especially for the novice, the good information is hard to sort from the junk out here on the net. – U62 Jul 30 '10 at 13:26

I work as a professional game developer which finally earns me enough money to buy the books.

I also recommend working as a surgeon in order to be able to afford books on anatomy. ;)

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I usually buy from Amazon or one of their used book associates. For some reason, I have a hard time reading a PDF versus a real book when it comes to learning new material.

A lot of the books on amazon have used options at significant discount. Unfortunately, many of the new or hot books won't be much cheaper (e.g. Game Programming Gems). Most of the books I buy aren't game-specific, though, and some are old. The Fowler/Beck Refactoring book, for example, is $53 new and $25 used. Smalltalk 80: The Language is $36 new and .. $5 used (haha).

But you never know what you might find. Real Time Rendering 2nd edition hardcover is $55 new and $12 used. Good book, nice price.

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I buy all of them.

I don't find most of them expensive, but that's subjective. Also, cheaper doesn't mean less valuable and I'm not a fan of the Programming Wisdom books, since they are expensive even to my mind because only little of each book is of any use to me.

Before purchase, I check if the information is readily available on the Internet and try to figure out what the book might be revealing which isn't readily available. If I buy a book I'm always thinking that, compared to alternative learning solutions like University or Seminars, books are comparably cheap. And the value it adds to my knowledge base over time can't even be expressed in money.

In over 15 years I've spent about $5,000 on educational and programming books. If I hadn't done so, I might not be here, I might not have had the great jobs I had. That's how I look at it. Money is a short term thing you best invest into yourself. Books are a very cheap way to learn from experts in their fields.

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