Telling the good from the bad.
Just a few thoughts...
We all know that there are tons of computer books out there these days, ranging every level of detail and subject imaginable to us. In fact, there are so many that these days its very, very easy to accidentally buy a book that you didn't want to purchase, to buy something that turns out to be utterly useless to you, and certainly not worth the thirty-fifty dollars you spent on it.
So whats safe these days? Usually a university bookstore is. They have lots of good information, back-ups, and you know that they're reliable. Yes, they cost a little bit more, but you can easily teach yourself from them without any real problem, and often find extra information such as presentations or notes that go along with the book. Many of them come with CDs that'll help you out.
I have never bought a book from a University that turned out to be a bad use of my money.
One of the other good things is that after you buy one of these books, you've gone through a course on your own. You can now test out of it or get the credit without spending the extra money or time. It can make college a lot easier if you're going through it.