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Book & ebook FAQ

I’m an instructor interested in evaluating the book for classroom use. Can I get a complimentary copy? Yes, we’re happy to send these to instructors at 2- or 4-year institutions of higher learning. Fill out the form on this page and we’ll get one out to you.

Is the book required for the free online course at saas-class.org? It‘s recommended. The lectures introduce important concepts and tools, but you will definitely need more detail to complete the assignments and really understand the material. If the lectures alone had all the detail, they would be several times longer.

Can I use free online materials instead of the book? While the book is specially designed to complement the lectures (because it co-evolved with this syllabus), many resources are available online for free, including the Ruby documentation, the book "Programming Ruby", the Rails documentation, Rails guides, Rails overview material, Cucumber wiki, RSpec wiki, CSS documentation, official HTML documentation, Haml documentation, Martin Fowler's Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture catalog, the Git Book, the Heroku developer wiki, Rails For Zombies, and many other places. (Indeed, the book exists in part to help navigate and choose among all the available resources.) Also, the book's code examples are all online at pastebin, and the screencasts are all online at Vimeo.

Which edition should I get? We revise the book frequently to fix errors and add new content. The print and Kindle versions are updated at the same time, but the Kindle version receives free updates. The same version number across formats implies the same text content.  Print editions are shipped from the USA, UK or continental Europe, depending on where you order from; shipping to other regions may take significantly longer. We frequently give out postcards at academic and trade conferences with discount codes for the print version.  Instructors can get a free evaluation copy.  And if you buy the print version, the Kindle version is included as a free add-on.

I purchased an edition earlier than 0.10.1, why did I not get a free update? We had to change the ISBN number starting with version 0.10.1, so if you purchased it before that version, unfortunately the free updates only get you as far as 0.9.3, which is about 8 free updates since the initial 0.8.0. There is no way for authors to send free copies of Kindle books to customers, but if this is a hardship for you please contact Armando Fox to explain your situation.

Can my college bookstore or other retail bookstore stock the book? Yes, if they agree to make an arrangement with CreateSpace, which prints and distributes the book.

Do you sell the book directly? No, please use the links at top left of this page to order the hardcopy or Kindle edition from Amazon.

Do I need a Kindle device to use the Kindle edition? No, the Amazon Cloud Reader lets you read Kindle books in all major Web browsers, and there are free Kindle reader apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.

Are there editions for e-readers other than Kindle? Not at this time. Fortunately, virtually every mobile device in existence runs Kindle reader apps and the ebook is available in many countries.  We are a small operation and focusing on a single format allows us to spend our time and effort improving the content.

The Kindle edition isn’t available in my part of the world. We have requested the widest possible distribution within the lowest pricing tier available in each region. This page lists all the countries in which the Kindle edition is available, which can be read either on a Kindle device or using one of the free Kindle apps for Windows, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Mac, iPad, or Android.

You claim the ebook costs $9.99 but I had to pay more on Amazon. Different countries charge different taxes on Amazon purchases, which we cannot control. We have set the list price to US$9.99 on the Kindle store and that price is automatically converted to different currencies, but taxes may cause the final price to the buyer to be higher.

What does “beta edition” mean? It means that in a very few places in the book, some content is missing, and there will doubtless be some errors. We welcome feedback on content coverage, organization, the usefulness of the exercises, etc. The First Edition will be available by Spring 2014.

Why does it take 5 to 7 days to receive the print version?  Each copy is printed and shipped on demand, which takes about 2 days plus shipping time.

Will the book be available as a downloadable PDF file? Sorry, not at this time.

I don’t own a Kindle, is there an electronic version I can use? You don't need a Kindle to read the Kindle version— Amazon provides free Kindle reader apps for Windows, Macs, Android phones, Android tablets, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, iPhone, and iPad.

There is no Kindle Reader App for Linux, and Kindle Cloud Reader only works if you have already registered at least one Reader app or Kindle device. We think that's an unfortunate oversight by Amazon, since without Linux there would be no Kindle. Nonetheless, this unofficial blog post describes how to run the Kindle Reader App for PC on Ubuntu Linux using the free Wine emulator.

I can’t afford the book, can you send me a copy for free? Sorry, but this doesn’t scale, for many reasons. We’ve set the price very low but we have spent thousands of hours on this work. We hope people will respect our work and not seek out or redistribute illegitimate copies without our permission.

As a matter of principle, I do not purchase DRM-protected ebooks. We respect your position and hope you will respect our work. We’re exploring additional distribution options in the future, and things may not always be as they are now. We respectfully ask you not to distribute or accept copies of the book that were not obtained through one of the existing channels listed in the sidebar.

Will I get free updates? Yes, we've already released 6 updates since the book came out in January 2012, to add content, fix errors, and improve the examples. Kindle Edition purchasers will be notified by Amazon when the updated ebook is available for free re-download. However, we had to change the ISBN number of the book for the Second Beta Edition (because we changed the title as a result of reader feedback), so that "broke the chain" of free updates. We don't expect to have to change the ISBN number again, and we will continue to do free updates to the same ISBN number for as long as possible.

What if I find errors? A list of errata and form for reporting errata is available.

How is this book different from technical-press books about Ruby, Rails, etc. (O’Reilly, Pragmatic Programmers, etc.)? This book is specifically designed for engineers new to SaaS, combining fundamental concepts of software engineering with practical experience using modern SaaS tools. There’s a tremendous amount of excellent and detailed material out there on many of these topics, but the book’s goal is to “tie them all together” in a way that makes sense and is concise enough to cover in an 8 to 12 week undergraduate course.

Don’t see your question here?
Ask on the saas-class.org course forum for cs169.1x if you're enrolled in the course.