About the ITIL V3 Books

Last updated 20th September 2011

Well, there are five books in ITIL version 3 and they are called.... Plenty of places to find that boring stuff. Start with Wikipedia.

Back in 2009, OGC announced a revision of the ITIL books, except we are not allowed to call it a "revision": it is an "update". They are now called "ITIL 2011" and OGC no longer exists so they are produced by the British Cabinet Office. Only the five core books are revised so far (Sept 2011). They are 455 bigger, with a compete rewrite of Service Strategy, four new processes and numerous other changes - this is not a minor revision.

Which format to buy

You can obtain the ITIL v3 books as PDFs, i.e. downloaded softcopy Adobe books. Before you buy be aware that the PDFs, although searchable, cannot copy and paste text when quoting an extract from a book, which for me defeats one of only real advantages of softcopy. According to itgovernance "PDFs are not networkable, can only be printed once and cannot be copied, cut or pasted...any attempt to copy, cut, paste or move the PDF may result in its corruption...They can only be viewed using Adobe Acrobat 6.1 or 7 (not 8.0) and will need to be activated by visiting the Adobe DRM Activator website." Strike one.

The other advantage of softcopy is usually portability, but the ITIL v3 PDFs can only be installed on the one machine, which means they are only as portable as your laptop, as compared to the portability of a CD. Van Haren Publishing's itilbooks site says "Once downloaded the PDF is permanently stored on your PC. It can be used on another PC provided Adobe reader 6.01 or Adobe 7 has been installed, and by setting up a .Net Passport from the DRM activator site." Strike two.

Despite the massive reduction in production costs they don't cost any less than a printed book. Strike three. And even though they are digital, ITIL v3 PDF buyers don't get automatic updates. Strike four .. no wait, you're already out. Skip the PDFs.

There are now also e-Books. These are not much different to PDFs except they are a different format which uses Mobipocket Reader, which you need to download to read the book on your PC or PDA/phone. "Your Mobipocket eBook can be downloaded once to your computer and then synched to your PDA. The ebook cannot be printed."

You can also subscribe to online access to ITIL v3. The online subscription will also give you "Dynamic content, Easy navigation, Bookmarking, History, Cross-linking between chapters, Pop-up glossary of terms" and 50% off a hardcopy set of the books. Now for me the only benefit of the online service that I can see (as compared to cool geek features that I don't need) is "dynamic content", i.e. any updates to the text (so far as I am aware there haven't been any yet, and BOKKED shows very few important errors in the texts). This subscription service will cost you almost as much per annum as the books will to buy. Let me repeat that: you can buy a new set of hardcopy books every 18 months for less than the cost of subscribing online. So much for dynamic content. Strike one.

Another thing about online subscription (for me anyway) is that it is less convenient to read in bed or ... er.... other places of deep thought. Strike two. And I for one would still much rather read paper than pixels (maybe it is just my aging eyes). Strike three.

Note that

When you purchase your eBook you will also be able to access the publication on eb20, a web-based eBook reader application. This means that, in addition to downloading an eBook to your computer or hand-held device, you can now read the book online from any computer that is connected to the internet.

Intriguingly, if we assume that the eBook files on eb20 are updated as often as they are on the online subscription, then you can buy the eBook for £299 and get effectively a lifetime online sunscription instead of paying £265 ever year for much the same functionality.

To complicate your online choices even further, Van Haren offer the same ITIL V3 books online too, for less. €49 (about £44) per annum for all five core ITIL V3 books!

In fact, there is a way to access the ITIL Version 3 books (and many others) online for free. It is Google Book Search. All the ITIL books are there. The number of pages you can view is limited, and text is presented as an image - no copy and paste, but if you want to know all about say Incident Matching or E/CAB, then you get more than enough pages to read up on the topic. It is on the Web so you can access it anywhere.

But I'm still not a fan of digital content at whatever price. If you like e-reading good on you. Not me.

Which books to read

Which leaves option three, the five books as books. Actually there are six books in ITIL version 3, including the official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle, written by Sharon Taylor, as a summary of the other five. [Note: NOT yet been updated to 2011 edition]. I think it is pretty good. Certainly a good place to start for those who are not keen to fork out hundreds of dollars for the five books (see ad to the right here for current price).

[updated:] An even better introduction to ITIL Version 3 is Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam (updated to 2009 syllabus). [Note: NOT yet been updated to 2011 edition]. This book is also published by OGC as part of ITIL. As discussed in my review of this book, it is even simpler than the Official Introduction, and has the benefit of being half the price.

In fact, if you are really on a budget, start with the free An Introductory Overview of ITIL V3.

The ITIL V3 Key Element Guides are now available. These makea good "bluffer's guide": a quick intro to the terminology and concepts. These are the pocket versions of the five core books. Thirty eight quid for the set of five. The V2 books produced by itSMF were good - so are these.

For those who want to start with something with real meat, look at Foundations of IT Service Management Based on ITIL V3. It is a condensation of the five core ITIL V3 books not a high level summary. It contains most (if not all) of the content of the Five in just one book and at an eleventh of the price! It achieves this in a number of ways:

  • smaller font, more densely formatted
  • eliminates all the tedious duplication in the five books (not to mention inconsistencies)
  • simplification of some explanations
  • omission of some material? I haven't found any yet

[Update: get Foundations of IT Service Management even cheaper as an online subscription for ten euros a year!]

After all that you will just have to read the five ITIL books.

The IT Skeptic reviewed the Service Strategy book (the original 3.0 version) and reviewed Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam and also reviewed Foundations of IT Service Management Based on ITIL V3.

IPESC have endorsed all five ITIL v3 core books (with one country holding out on one book). For those who are wondering, this means that itSMF International now approves of the books and gives them their official stamp, allowing the itSMF name and logo on the books. As if it was ever in doubt. Curiously IPESC did not get to review the Official introduction but the itSMF logo got bunged on there anyway. So much for process. The ITIL V3 Key Element Guides did undergo IPESC review.

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Multiple systems for PDF

One correction, it is possible to have the PDFs on more than one computer. I currently have them on three different computers and a portable hard drive (just in case I need to use them anywhere else). The DRM functionality allows you to enable the PDFs on six computers at any time just by logging in with your .NET Passport. As far as I can tell there are no limits on how many copies you can have, just how many computers you can see those copies on.

Microsoft managing my digital identity

Yes it says "It can be used on another PC provided Adobe reader 6.01 or Adobe 7 has been installed, and by setting up a .Net Passport ". I for one don't have a Microsoft Passport and I don't plan to have them managing my digital identity any time soon either.

Identity is about trust and this may be the only time I ever use "Microsoft" and "trust" in the same sentence without the presense of a negative.

Fair enough

I can't argue with the sentiment. However, I do use MSN Messenger and so I already have a .NET passport. Without it, you can't use the PDFs at all.

A good point of concern for those that are concerned with such.

A new service which only

A new service which only appeared recently - [URL removed] – search engine on ebooks. Its main purpose is to help users find the desired ebook (while searching by the author, title, part from the book) and download it for free.

thinly disguised vendor marketing

... is of very little help. I don't see the ITIL books on there nor should I as that would be piracy. Sadly most of what is free about ITIL is thinly disguised vendor marketing, except for the itSMFUK Introduction, and of course this blog :)

So much for "Portable

So much for "Portable Document Format" huh? :)

Google a little. Removing

Google a little. Removing Adobe DRM is easy, and then you can read it on your e-reader or device of your choosing.

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