Leading up to the rollout of the new Safari platform in July 2014, Safari’s content team had a clear directive: make sure we include all the content our customers value the most.
In order to work out what the right starting set of books and videos should be, we studied the historical usage data for Safari Books Online and targeted titles with the most usage and the most users. We also prioritized titles published in the past five years, as the data indicates that’s where the primary usage is. But our assumption was that new Safari would never have the same number of titles as Safari Books Online. We think that’s primarily a positive change. Why?
Not all PDF content appears in new Safari. More and more users are accessing Safari via mobile devices, and the fixed-width of a PDF source file creates a maddening, squinting experience, not to mention the damage a large PDF file can do to your data plan. EPUB, an HTML-based format, has been Safari’s preferred text format for this reason, and our product’s design encourages reflowable text. PDFs aren’t supported in new Safari but we have converted some of the most popular ones to EPUB. (75% of the PDF-sourced content that does not appear in new Safari has a publication date prior to 2010.) We continue to review the list and work with publishers to make sure we get the most relevant content into Safari in the most accessible format.
Some older content available only in the DocBook format doesn’t exist in new Safari. Safari Books Online went live in 2001, long before the days of EPUB. For new Safari, we identified some classics with DocBook source files and had those converted to reflowable EPUB.
Non-English language titles are not yet available in new Safari. On the roadmap is the creation of individual language libraries that allow users to select what languages they want in their search results. This way an English-language user won’t inadvertently pull up Basiswissen für Softwarearchitekten.
Only the most current editions of titles were added. In Safari Books Online, we maintained previous editions of titles even after they were updated because users may have annotated content in those editions. We’ve always felt if a user has annotated a title – regardless if it was three editions ago – then that user might refer back to it. Since the new platform was launched as a blank slate, there was no need to carry any editions other than the most recent. Going forward in the new platform, we will retain prior versions as new ones are published for the same reason we did so in Safari Books Online: so your annotations will remain intact.
We know our users want the most relevant and interesting content. If you see something you want added, let us know. The Safari content team continues to close any gaps in content our users say are important.