Take Control of Panther Volume 1
Book Review

Take Control of Panther Volume 1
Peachpit Press

ISBN: 0321287649
Paperback: 280 pages
US $29.99

Ragtop or hardtop?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Paper or plastic?
Smooth or crunchy?
E-book or paper?

You can now buy many of your favorite Take Control publications as a physical book.

Oh, you say that you have not read ANY of the TidBITS’s Take Control series? If not, you’re missing some of the most best topic-specific writing currently available in the Macintosh world. Each Take Control publication focuses intently on a specific Mac topic, and provides more detail and insight than you’d ever find in a more-generally targeted book. Take Control electronic publications are topical, priced right, and easily downloadable.

MyMac.com has previously reviewed many of the “Take Control” series of E-books, and has found them to be of universally high quality, both in content, and in the production quality and attention to detail of the PDF itself. TidBITS’s launch of a series of E-books garnered quite a bit of attention in the Mac press, and it was all well-deserved. Much discussion ensued over the economics of E-book publishing versus traditional paper printing.

One of the primary complaints of the E-book format was that it required the user to read from their computer screen. Reading PDF’s from a computer has lots of advantages, but convenience and portability are not always among them. How many of you take your laptop to the beach? Not me…

Just like some prefer smooth peanut butter to crunchy, some readers just prefer paper. You can now buy many of your favorite TidBITS’s E-books as a real, hold-it-in-your-hand book. Some titles (Take Control of Buying a Mac) are not available in paper. I suspect that this is due to some titles being physically too small to bind, or perhaps too specialized to justify the economics of conversion to paper. Hopefully, we’ll see other small TCO titles combined into one physical book in the future.

So why have publishers Adam and Tonya Engst suddenly made an apparent about-face, and published paper versions? Quoting Engst from Take Control of Panther, “Because with our good friends at Peachpit Press we believe we’ve come up with the best possible hybrid.”

That hybrid is allowing paper book purchasers to get both electronic and paper versions. If you’re worried that you’ll lose the free updates that are a main attraction of TidBITS’ web published versions, fear not. The price of admission to the printed copy includes free updates to the E-book. So, for the higher cost of the printed copy, you get free E-book updates. That’s a great deal.

Currently, the best deal is Take Control of Panther Volume 1. This 280 book contains four of the most popular Panther-related TidBITS’s E-books: Upgrading to Panther, Customizing Panther, Take Control of Users and Accounts in Panther, and Take Control of Sharing Files in Panther.

While the list price is $29.99, Amazon has it for $20.39, a 32% savings. Given that each E-book is priced at $5.00, the fact you can get 4 in a bound version that includes free E-book updates should make you run, not walk, to your nearest book store, be it on-line or bricks and mortar. The smaller titles (Take Control of Apple Mail, for example) list for $16.99, and can be found for as little as $11.89.

If you’ve ever been interested in the Take Control series, but haven’t wanted to stare at a screen for hours, the printed versions are just the ticket.

MYMAC.COM rating 5 out of 5.

I’d give a 6 if I was allowed to!

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