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Is there a Kindle edition of Practical Data Science with R?

We have often been asked “why is there no Kindle edition of Practical Data Science with R on Amazon.com?” The short answer is: there is an edition you can read on your Kindle: but it is from the publisher Manning (not Amazon.com).

The long answer is: when Amazon.com supplies a Kindle edition readers have to deal with the following:

  • Amazon.com digital right management locking the material to a single format and Amazon.com devices/readers.
  • Careless mechanical re-formatting of the book material yielding either poor rendering or re-packaging of PDFs that you can only zoom and scan across (and not true re-flow of text).
  • Amazon.com prices for Kindle versions are often as high as 70 to 90 percent of the print edition. Meaning to get both editions (print and Kindle) you spend at-least half as much again as getting either edition.

Some readers don’t like this and (rightly) complain. Some of the best books in our field have the occasional 1-star review due to a throughly frustrated Amazon Kindle customer. As an author you wish reviews were faceted with completely separate and mandatory sub-scores for vendor experience, price, delivery, print-quality, ebook-rendering, relevance to particular reader, and finally book quality (instead of a single rating perceived as “book quality”). But from a buyer’s point of view: rating an item low that has given you a bad experience is completely legitimate (be it for print quality, or the utility of the eBook rendering).

Practical Data Science R does have an e-copy. For our book when we say e-copy we mean:

  • An electronic copy available without any intrusive digital right management (beyond requiring registration for initial download and a watermark). These are maximally useful copies as you can search them, print them, and place them on arbitrary devices.
  • Unlimited downloads and re-downloads of your copies.
  • e-copy available in three formats: PDF, ePub, and Kindle. And you can download all three.
  • e-copies are produced and inspected by the actual book editors during the production of the book (not a later mechanical transcription).

We offer readers more than one way to get an good e-copy. Though not all customers are aware of all the options.

  • Each new standard copy (though not the international discount reprint) offers an access code that gives single-user rights to an e-copy. This is true for any new standard edition (be it sold by Manning, Amazon, or any other bookseller). Note: used copies may have already consumed codes and discount international editions do not include codes (so if somebody is re-selling you a book you will want to check if it includes an unused code). This is a good deal as for the price of a new standard print edition you get both a print and e-copy (typically much cheaper than buying a p-copy and an e-copy separately).
  • Manning itself sells e-copies where for a single discounted price you again get access to non-DRM “e-copy” editions (again giving you all of PDF, ePub, and Kindle). We know some readers do not want a physical book, and expect a discounted e-only option.
  • Manning books are often available through Safari online, so you or your enterprise may already have some (restricted online) access through Safari.

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In conclusion.
Manning reserved the right to be the only seller of e-only editions of Practical Data Science with R. For a full legitimate e-only copy you must go through them. Manning includes a free e-copy code in all new standard editions of the book. Wherever you buy a legitimate new copy of the standard edition you get the same e-rights as bonus. Used copies and discount international editions have their roles, but may not have a e-copy included (someone may have consumed the right on a used copy, and the discount international edition doesn’t include a code).

Obviously the customers and readers get to decide what is of value to them. This describes the options we were able to supply.


I thought I would show how to register a Manning e-book from your physical copy. The process is fairly quick you just need your physical book, an internet connection, and an email address to register a Manning account when prompted.

  1. Cut open the attached code sheet in the book front-matter. RegisterEbook1
  2. This reveals a large code spreadsheet and the redemption URL. RegisterEbook2 Don’t worry you only have to enter a couple of these cells.
  3. Go to http://www.manning.com/ebookoffer/ and enter the codes from two cells when prompted. RegisterEbook

I know the code sheet differs from book to book. I guess it is large to make it less practical for somebody to peek and copy out the code in a bookstore. I presume once a code is associated with a Manning account it can’t be re-entered with another account. Obviously a direct purchase of an e-only copy directly from Manning is a much less involved process.

5 thoughts on “Is there a Kindle edition of Practical Data Science with R?”

  1. I also don’t like purchasing anything besides PDFs. It’s your prices that keep me away. Right or wrong.

    I usually pay around $20 for my ebooks. I prefer to buy them directly through the publisher then import them to Google Play or Kindle for cloud.

    Springer and Manning have never gotten a sale from me due to price. $40.00+ for an eBook when I can get a book covering the similar topics for half the price though I would rather have the Manning books due to their high reviews and high standards I see in the reviews of the books. These books also never go on sale and keep a high price.

    You might be surprised at how many books you might sell if you lowered your price or had an occasional sale. I know I have bought way to many books just due to price and then these books cause me to have an amazing personal library which I hope to always have a PDF copy.

    1. In fact Manning was promoting a half of everything deal the day of your comment (December 22nd, 2014): http://deals.manningpublications.com/countdown2015.html. That took the price of the e-only copies of Practical Data Science with R down to $20.00 (which simultaneously gives you PDF, ePub and Kindle). Manning often promotes these sales through their website, mailing list, and Twitter account ( @ManningBooks ).

      You can definitely get Manning books at a discount through various legitimate channels. Also please understand it is the publisher and distributors (not the authors) that set the price of books (especially from first time authors). Also for any book (be it ours, be it another) you have to also price in the value of your own time: if a given books saves you a few hours they may wipe out a price difference.

      (I learned about this discount after writing this article, but have tweeted it @WinVectorLLC to try and get it out to anyone following. I tend not to put these deals into the core of articles as they have limited lifetimes and that can frustrate some readers.)

  2. The assumptions that underpin this article are false. Blame your publisher or whomever is converting the manuscript to .mobi format, not Amazon. Through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can choose to disable DRM on your ebook. You can set the price, too, down to a minimum level. You can also directly submit the manuscript source file and preview exactly how it’ll look on any supported mobile device — Kindle, iPhone, Nexus tablets, etc. If you don’t like it, reformat it and upload again.

    1. Manning does good job on the conversions. So my publisher does make good versions, they just are not on Amazon.com.

      I know many other books have good publishers and bad Kindle versions, so I assume some part of the process is causing this problem. I admit I don’t know much about Amazon self-publishing.

      So I am sorry if I botched the premise, but I thought it was very important emphasize the following: there is a good Kindle version of Practical Data Science with R, even if you don’t see it at Amazon.com.

  3. I do appreciate the spirit of the question and from the perspective of someone who has both both the physical and electronic versions of the book, I would like to share my thoughts.

    First, the Kindle version which Manning provides is well done (I have Kindle Fire). Also, the paper version of the book is of good quality – the binding, paper weight and printing. The price is right and more importantly, if you desire a discount, Manning will often have a “deal of the day” which is typically half off the books.

    Second, as an end-user, the publisher is my conduit to the author. They have an Author Online forum which from what I have gathered, during the writing of the books, it gives the readers a chance to provide feedback to the authors. I came to it after the book was published, which made the experience that much more interesting. I was following along the book and doing the exercises and got stuck. A few hours of failing to replicate what the authors had done, I posted a note in the Author’s online. To my great surprise, the author responded and I was able to move forward. So, I had to ask myself, what is the price for that service? To me, the extra that I paid to Manning was well worth it. For full disclosure, I am not in any form or fashion associated with any publishing companies. I do however, buy many of my technical books directly from publishers such as Manning (and two others ones). I find that they are more responsive and they believe in no DRM policy.

    I do hope for those who might be on the fence, that you reconsider – this is a delightful book, well written, nice examples, and whichever version you choose, it is of high quality.

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