Jeremiah Flaga My thoughts and experiences on programming, life, atbp.

Why I started buying physical books


The second book on programming that I (ever) bought already arrived! :relieved: Whew!

24 Deadly Sins of Software Security

24 Deadly Sins of Software Security book

My first programming book is this:

Assembly Language Primer book

I bought it about 10 years ago…

Ten years ago!? Can you believe that!? How then was I able to learn the other things about programming?? :neutral_face:

… 10 years ago, year 2007 I think, from a book sale in Valencia, Bukidnon, for only Php 100.00 (if I remember it correctly). That is about $2.00.

I did not have a computer yet during that time. But because I was very interested in knowing how computers work, I started reading that book a few months before I started college. I learned how to convert decimal to hexadecimal and vice versa through this book. It was through this book also that I find it easy to understand pointers in C when I encountered them a few months later.

Programming books are expensive in the Philippines

Buying programming books is very expensive here in the Philippines (in Davao City specifically). We have to buy them online because they are not available in our bookstores; and the cost for shipping is almost the same as the cost of the book.

But even though they cost so much money, I decided to start buying physical books on programming, and here are the reasons why:

  1. I think I can remember more things if I use a physical book than when I use a digital book (the top-to-bottom scrollable kinds of digital books).
    They say that there are studies that backs this up. But I do not [yet?] know how to evaluate studies.
    If using digital books is working best for you then great! – buy digital books instead of physical ones.

  2. I sensed that I tend to devalue the materials that I already have when I know that I can easily download other presumably better materials online. I usually do not finish the books that I download.

  3. They will serve as my trophies.
    I forgot where I got this idea… I think I got that from either John Sonmez or Scott Hanselman.

  4. I know that I can still be able to learn how to use new languages or frameworks using the documentation of those languages and frameworks, and tutorials available online – I need to be creative/resourceful.
    I got that from John Sonmez.

  5. Googling is okay!

  6. There are free eBooks available online; and they also have very good contents – even better contents than some of those I obtained illegally when I was just getting started with programming.

  7. Doing what is right keeps your conscience satisfied. And this builds self-confidence.”
    I got that from my notes on “The Magic of Thinking Big” which I read last 2006 or 2007 from the library of BFBS

  8. God exists. I should be trusting him.

  9. I plan to buy physical books only of those called “language agnostic” books

  10. I was convicted to stop illegally downloading copyrighted materials online while watching “The Atheist Delusion” of Ray Comfort last year (2016). * ** ***
    This conviction was reinforced by Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama during his lectures on “The Reformation” at Malaybalay, Bukidnon last year (also); and also by an acquaintance named Ian Cemacio when I heard him say that he already stopped downloading movies online because that’s the conviction God has given him. :smile:
    I also thought (last year) that I will never become a full time programmer again. So there will be no need to have programming books.


I started downloading books illegally last 2009 I think (two years after my rebellion years started. I just googled for “free eBook for [name of language, framework, etc.]” and many sites will show up. At first I did not know that it was illegal. But after a few months I realized that it was.

Of course, if I only trusted God in the first place, I might not have done this mistake of illegally downloading copyrighted materials. I admit that this mistake is a result of not trusting in God for giving me all the information that I need even if I do not illegally download copyrighted materials.

I used to trust God when I was young. That trust was slowly lost during my rebellious years. But I thank God for his mercy and grace – for bringing me back to him.

I’m not perfect; I might commit other mistakes in the future. But I’m happy that I am able to correct this particular mistake now.

If someone with power is concerned about us not have easy access to good programming books here in the Philippines, please do something so that we will have easy access to them. I believe that this small good things that you will do will have more impact than the big evil things that exist.

[Update July 30, 2017: I created a page that links to some good and free books online. If you know of other good and free books, please tell me in the comments and I will add them to the list. Thanks!]


* Of course there were already instances of convictions in the past; but the pressure on not stopping downloading copyrighted materials was so great because, I said to myself, “how else would I be able to learn?” The books that I thought I needed are not available in our local bookstores; and I did not yet know how to buy books online; and the books online are very expensive. This pressure, and many others, helped me in wanting to leave Christianity. “Christianity is impossible”, I thought to myself.

** I’m not condemning fellow Christians who are still downloading copyrighted materials. But I am not hesitant to say that it is wrong. I would like to plead with you to consider this: Telling people the truth is not the same as condemning people. Saying that “it is wrong” is not the same as saying that “you will always be wrong” or “you are not a Christian anymore”.

*** … For atheists out there, I would like to say this: “At least Christians have an explanation on why we sometimes behave the wrong way.”

I think atheists do not have a “good” explanation on why we, humans, are capable of loving, caring, etc. They cannot even explain why they care when other people believe the “wrong” things (because if they don’t really care, they would just leave them alone).


[It was not actually delivered to my place. I had to go to the Davao Post Office (PhilPost) to get it. It arrived last February 28, two weeks after it was dispatched from the UK, but they (PhilPost) did not deliver it to the destination address. :disappointed: ]

Update (Feb 26, 2018): About two weeks ago, I went to PhilPost Davao to get another book I bought, because it has been five weeks already after it was dispatched, and it has not yet arrived.

The clerk said that it usually takes three to four weeks before a package arrives.

So I think that I was mistaken for accusing PhilPost Davao of not delivering my book to the destination. The February 28 date might not be the date it arrived in Davao. It might be the date it arrived in Manila or somewhere else here in the Philippines.

I would like to apologize for that.

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