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You’ve probably noticed we’ve made some changes around here, including a brand new design and sharp new logo.

New Safari Logo

Safari began more than 13 years ago as “Safari Tech Books Online,” with the promise of replacing the collection of IT and programming reference books on your shelf with something online and searchable. (As the saying goes, “You can’t grep dead trees.”)

But the notion of just having “books online” isn’t particularly novel anymore — and we’re about much more than books these days, with tens of thousands of hours of video courses, exclusive conference sessions, and even audio books. And with leading titles in business, communications, management, design, marketing, leadership, sales, and operations, we’ve got something for everyone in your organization — not just the IT department.

While lots of our customers, especially those working in libraries, are still looking for what is fundamentally a reference database, we know that many others want something a bit different. They aren’t looking up something they already know they want; they’re looking to learn something new or find something interesting to read and watch, suggested to them in the kind of continuous stream we’re all now familiar with from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

As we kept trying to work that kind of serendipity into a reference system, it became clear that we needed to step back and start over. We realized there’s just so much more we could do to help connect people with useful content from deep within books, video courses, and conference sessions.

We’ve been testing out a lot of our ideas and getting fantastic feedback for nearly a year now, through a product we’ve been calling Safari Flow. Those early users have already read more than 30 million pages of text and watched more than 1 million minutes of video, helping us refine the experience along the way. We’ve now folded that into one core offering, called simply “Safari,” and its responsive design and clean reading experience are the foundation of the new Safari interface.

One thing we haven’t changed is the original Safari Books Online for any current customer. Although we’re excited about where we’re going with the reimagined Safari, we’ve taken a page from the folks at Basecamp in making sure anyone who is happy with their existing Safari Books Online account can keep it. Keeping two entirely separate systems running isn’t without its tradeoffs, but we decided it was worth it. If you’re already a Safari Books Online customer and want to try out the new version, you can start a free trial today. Everything from your current Safari Books Online account will stay as it is, just like you left it.

What’s new in the new Safari?

The new Safari homepageWe know you’re trying to find the most useful and interesting content, so here are a few of the ways the new Safari does that:

Integrated Text, Video Training, Conference, and Audio Content

Unlike most other online training companies, we offer a diverse range of perspectives and content types to suit a variety of learning styles. We believe truly mastering a subject means understanding more than just one expert’s opinion on the matter, and that’s why we offer you the choice of many different points of view. We know (because we have the data to back it up) that very few people only watch video courses or only read books or only watch conference sessions. Nearly everyone who joins Safari uses a mix of all the types of content we provide; for example, an engineering manager might need to quickly skim a list of useful performance-review phrases at their desk, but want to take a deep dive into a video course about Android over the weekend and then listen to a conference keynote on the commute to work Monday morning.

Text, video, and audio content is presented together within recommendation pages and search results. For text content, we also show you estimated reading times to help you plan your time investment and track your progress, just like you’re already used to with video and with audio books.

Personalized Recommendations

We’re all growing familiar with recommendations from services like Netflix and Spotify, but today there aren’t a lot of good options for discovering useful professional content based on your specific interests and history. The most relevant part for you might be a single chapter, clip, or conference talk, not necessarily a whole book or training course.

Recommended items in the new Safari.Based on topics you’ve selected, your own usage behavior, and what’s popular among millions of our other users, we recommend courses, chapters, books, clips, and conference sessions. We also present recommendations categorized by time commitment, so if you’ve got 15 minutes waiting for a train, we’ll help you fill that time with something to make you smarter.

 

Queue

Services like Instapaper, Readability, and of course Netflix have popularized the notion of a “queue” of items to read or watch later — a way to “time-shift” interesting bits for when you’ve got more, well, time to look at them. The new Safari has its own queue, where you can add chapters, clips, books, video courses, and conference sessions for later review.

The queue in the new Safari.Within a few weeks, we’ll be rolling out an iOS app [update: the iOS app is now live] (followed later by Android and Windows 8) built around the queue and making your selections available when you’re offline.

Annotations

AnnotationCollecting and sharing annotations across a bunch of different books is difficult to do with individual ebooks. The new Safari makes it easy to highlight, add optional notes, and share those annotations with the world (or maybe just your coworkers).

What’s Ahead

We’re proud of what we’ve already built, but we’re incredibly excited about what’s ahead for Safari. Here’s a few of the things we’re looking at:

  • Adding more audio books
  • Live conference streaming
  • Shared “playlists” of content
  • Integrated custom Tutorials that provide curated paths through our rich collection of content to meet specific learning objectives

Stay tuned to our blog or follow us on Twitter for more details, and let us know what you think!

What does this mean for you?

There’s a more detailed FAQ posted here, which we’ll be adding to in the weeks ahead, but here’s answers to a few of the key questions you might have about what we’re up to.

I’m already a customer of Safari Books Online, what does this mean for me?

Nothing about your current subscription will change. We’ll keep adding great new books, video courses, and conference videos to our original Safari Books Online reference product, which is used by millions of individual, corporate, library, and government customers around the world. The original product will continue to be known as “Safari Books Online,” and the new one is just called Safari. They’re entirely separate.

Do I have to move to the new Safari?

Not if you don’t want to. Moving is optional, and current Safari Books Online customers can try out the new Safari totally free for 10 days. If you’re a current Enterprise customer, your Account Manager will be happy to help you.

Is the content the same in the new Safari?

The new Safari has more than 27,000 books and videos. We did take the opportunity to prune a bunch of titles that were rarely (if ever) used, making it easier to discover the most topical releases in technology and business, and we’re adding new titles every day.

If you have more questions, drop us a line, or keep up with this FAQ, which we’ll be expanding and adding to in the weeks ahead.

I’m already a member of Safari Flow, what does this mean for me?

Nothing about your current subscription will change. What was Flow and is now Safari will function completely the same. Any changes you see are strictly cosmetic to bring the site inline with the look and feel of our new branding. We’ve retained all of your settings, queue items, and usage history. Please continue to use Safari just as you used Flow.

One important thing that has changed from Flow is the URL. Please update your bookmark and you’ll be on your way.

Try the new Safari

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25 Responses to “Welcome to the new Safari”

  1. Christopher Hiller

    Will there be changes to the blog content?

    • Scott Cipriano

      All existing blog posts will remain. We are working on some new posts and bootcamps (example that should be appearing soon. Thanks for asking.

  2. Harish Jagtiani

    Wow, what a dramatic step-up with integrated content. Look to using it extensively in days ahead.

  3. Fred Nelson

    How do you use ebooks from safarbooksonline as reference in research papers? There are no pages?

  4. JJ MacLean

    Any ETA on an updated iOS app? Definitely like the rest of the changes!

    • Scott Cipriano

      Thanks so much! Work on the new app is well under way, targeting a Q3 launch.

  5. Aldo Baston

    How can I have back my old plain Safari Library?

    I’m not able anymore to access my old Safari Library account.
    I’m a paying customer and this new think messed up my access, I’m pretty angry !!!

    You said that nothing changed for existing subscription (https://blog.safaribooksonline.com/new-safari-faq/), but this is not true as I’m not able to access contents, old URL doesn’t work anymore and new site continue to claim “Your trial subscription is expired”. My Credit Card was last charged on 19 July 2014.

    I only want to access my old account, the one I’m paying for.
    Can someone simply explain how can I do that?

    Thanks, regards
    Aldo

  6. Haim Zamir

    I don’t want this new Safari experience, though I am a new user. Comparing to what my colleague has, only a fraction of the old functionality seems to work.

  7. Ian Bevan

    I have significant issus with Flow.
    The new platform has significantly fewer features – no favourites, no folders, no offline reading, no page numbers, no deep linking (at least within a chapter, not sure about outside), no iOS app at launch (seriously, what’s with that? I now NEED an internet connection, can’t use it on the bus or on an airplane. WTF)

    It’s also a usability nightmare. You are forcing me to access the content is a paradigm that simply does not meet what I use it for. Lots of niggles too – like you cannot see a table of contents for a book next to the content. The hell?

    I pushed hard for my new company to trial safari (we have 700+ staff), finally got a green light, and found you ruined it. My only option is apparently to re-activate an old account.

    You have lost a customer.

    • Andrew Savikas

      Ian,

      Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful feedback, and sorry to hear that you were disappointed.

      We looked at 13 years of data to help inform some of our decisions in starting fresh with the new platform, and one of those data points was that only 7% of customers ever created more than one folder.

      As for page numbers, we concluded the benefits of having reflowable text that suits any range of screen size outweighed trying to render print-style pages (with page numbers), especially since a growing number of our titles will never actually be available in printed format.

      For deep linking, our Annotations feature can be used to create arbitrary endpoints within the content, though we can (and will) do more to make them behave more like “deep links”.

      I’m more bummed than anyone that our mobile app simply wasn’t up to snuff to launch with the rest of the new service, but we didn’t want to delay things any further, nor did we want to release an app we were’t absolutely proud of. I’ve seen the latest builds and they’re looking great — expect an iOS app by early Q4.

      Getting back to the data, very few customers actually used the table of contents next to the book (and in fact often complained it was a distraction from the content!). In the new platform you can invoke the TOC at any time using the keyboard shortcut “t” (or of course clicking the “hamburger” icon at the top of the screen).

      Again, sorry to hear you were disappointed. We’ve been deploying updates to the new platform almost daily, and we’d love to have you take another look soon.

    • Zeke

      I second this notion, the new safari is awful, I understand you want to take advanage of the other revenues but this is ridiculous, at least leave the old safari available for the majority of those who actually use it effectively, this new site for however you put it, the person looking to learn something new etc etc, is NOT what safari books primary purpose is, it was for the person who HAD to learn something new, and use it effectively.

  8. Tomasz Kluza

    Hi,
    I’m long time safari books online user and I would like to try the new safari,
    but when I’m providing my details (name, email etc.) I’m getting a message
    that I already have the account at safari.
    I don’t want to use a new email for that purpose.

    How do I try and test the new safari ?
    I was also checking the safari flow some time ago.
    Maybe that’s what is getting into the way?

    Thanks,
    Tomasz

  9. Leighton Cooper

    This is my opinion as a safri books online user for 5+ years. I also own quite a few of the Pascal programming books Doug Cooper’s “”Oh Pascal 2nd edition ” which I would rank as probably the best programming book I have. The later editions he changed things but the frustrating thing when comparing say that book and the 8 bit era. Commodore 64 programming books (and the Magazines WHICH HAD ACTUAL PROGRAMS UNLIKE TODDAY’S COMPUTER MAGAZINES!!!!” IS in many ways much richer. I always try to answer questions by finding smaller questions and the 8 bit era and the early pascal books really mixed software engineering exposure across a multi discipline arena to an actual program. Seeing example to example doesn’t always suggest the big picture or image. Are you going to offer a discount to Safari books online users who might like to use flow as well?

  10. Leighton Cooper

    I also subscribe to Questia and Wolfram and support Open courseware as someone with a disability I have a hard time figuring out what Safari books is? Programming actually is hard because you have to step into managements shoes without actually being a manager and brainstorm the main things and how stuff might be fun to produce. I subscribe to explain my disability which I refuse to (let the religious idiots obstruct my attempts to bring objerctive properties and structure and make alternate choices that last because of this. See how confusing this sounds. I understand a lot but Questia has 2x as many books as you have and far more categories. That is why I find your service amazing. You have far fewer categories but almost half the amount of books. Bear in mind You are much higher priced than Questia. Almost too expensive because one can only look at so much so For your price I could subscribe to HuluPlus Netflix instant and Amazon. for less per month than your subscription. Also so much of what is in Safari is specialized to an almost non-readable draw out per exercise for intelligence. this is really slow going. Yes I get new perceptions from it but who would hire me for any of this part of a side thinking. No one!! So in many ways I find Questia more accessible and Safari more hobbyist but it still is less than paying 50,000 a year. If I can’t understand Geometry for $360 a year how am I going to learn more of it for $65,000 a year. So because I want to support what you do I subscribe. and open courseware also is just as good. One thing is that sometimes the Safari online video’s recommend books that aren’t even in the Safari books library because I find books that get close to what these courses teach and try to understand the grouping patterns that are involved but it is much for a complex more and Religious folks hate Me!!! Also get some Card magic and Stage magic books so people can try write mathematical stuff to that. Even Questia has no stage magic and you folks don’t carry any Dover publishing books which they are inexpensive but have such a catalog of stuff that no one knows anything about which is kind of your specialty.

  11. Pete Jarvis

    I have used Safari Bookstore since 2004 and I have to say that if you make me switch to Safari flow UI. I will cancel my subscription. I love Safari books the new flow user interface is frankly not what I need or want. It to me at least appears to be a solution looking for a problem.

    I use Safari books for research hence the ability to list and find books by year, and author, to save to folders etc is critical. The new user interface is a significant step back in my view.

  12. Roger McCough

    How many books can I view with the basic subscription?

    I’ve spent quite a while searching your site and can’t find an answer. Also what are the limits on the basic subscription?

  13. Tae-seong Kim

    I have been used “old” safari books online and it helps me to work well.
    After I trying “new” safari, I found it didn’t have “folder”
    When I want to login “old” agin, I couldn’t do it.
    Please let me know how to login *lovely* old safari books when doing trial new one.

  14. Luis Ferro

    I used Safari Books Online and was interested in getting back to it, BUT, i really do require proper eBook support. This means that i need support for off-line reading (because sometimes I’m out of internet and even with internet, i don’t want to incur in extra bandwidth charges just because I’m reading something), and a proper eBook App to do it (there where some pointers about annotations, access to proper ToC and index).

    To my amazement, the current app on Android can’t login anymore. Why?

    And as we go about it, now that Safari is within the fold of O’Reilly, can we have the ability to auto-mark / access all of our books from the O’Reilly catalog into Safari?

    If that is not possible, at least allow the addition of local books in the app (from download folder, dropbox etc).

    That is the reason i don’t use Amazon App in the first place.

  15. Brett

    Okay, I get ‘out with the old and in with the new’, sure. The problem is, the front-end is broken!
    Has anyone actually tried using it ? The queue button has a mind of it’s own! Not only is the new approach pointless, it is unusable! It doesn’t work, and you still shipped it ?

    Maybe some folks will be getting fired? Are you hiring?

  16. Rohit

    Hi

    I also do not like the new SAFARI at all. Post comment on how to switch back to old view. This DOES NOT WORK for me.

    New UI is nice and colorful and bright (inline with current web design trends), but loses so much of functionality that I am used to – which is terrible.

    Thanks

  17. tko

    I tried out the new Safari and I think the old Safari Books Online is better.

    The reasons are:
    – Safari doesn’t work well on my Android E-Ink Tablet browser
    – The attachment on every page at the end like “People who finished this also enjoyed” is unnecessary and can’t be disabled by default. So it takes more browser space and feels like advertisment
    – I cannot disable my interests – I have to set at least one of it. It’s none of Safari’s business what books I like
    – The design is somehow ‘hip’ but doesn’t get the job done. It feels somehow overblown and unnecessary
    – Overall I cannot see any real customer advantage, do you?

    Maybe it’s for people who just want to browse a little but its IMHO by far now substitute for Safari Books Online.