The Ins and Outs of #CCENT and #CCNA eBooks

By certskills April 18, 2013 10:15

eBooks are wonderful. I use a Kindle for leisure reading, my wife/kid use a Nook, and for many people use tablets, readers, or even a laptop to read PDF versions of a book. Buying a novel to read on an eReader is an easy choice – you search, you click buy, and you start reading a minute later.

You can use the same process to buy eBook versions of Cisco Press books. However, there is much more to the buying decision for these books than just buying from the store that sold you the eReader. In particular, to date, only one type of eBook includes the practice tests that come with the print book. This post breaks down the options, and discusses the option with all the content: the Premium eBooks direct from the publisher.

The Big Challenge: the Print Book is More than Printed Pages

The printed versions of the new ICND1 100-101 Cert Guide and the new ICND2 200-101 Cert Guide include the printed book of course. If the eBook just had to mimic the printed pages in the book, creating and selling eBooks in various formats would be much simpler. However, the printed book comes with some other stuff as well, some of which poses more of a problem to deliver to eBook customers.

To begin, think of a printed book not just as the printed book, but instead think of it as the following parts:

  • A physical book (the paper itself)
  • A physical DVD
  • A cardboard insert, printed with:
    • A license code that grant you the right to use the PCPT exam software and related exams (downloaded over the Internet)
    • A 1-time use 70% off coupon code for the premium edition eBook

(Do not lose that cardboard in the DVD sleeve!)

For perspective, the DVD includes the following content:

  • PDF versions of appendices not found in the printed book (called DVD Appendices)
  • The installer for the Sim Lite (a software product)
  • The installed for PCPT (exam software)
  • Video files
  • Samples of mind maps (used as exercises in the books)
  • Menu software that autoruns when the DVD is inserted, so you can easily find and use all the DVD features

Some of the DVD content can be easily put into an eBook, but some cannot. Also, some of the content, like the unique license code for each book purchase, can be a stumbling block for retailers.

Most Channels Deliver all DVD Content Except the Practice Exams

(Everything mentioned in this section is true as of the date this blog post was posted, and it may change over time.)

The retailers that sell eBooks do not deliver a physical DVD, nor an image of the DVD. Instead, the publisher and retailers work together to make the DVD content available.

In the case of most Cisco Press books, the new ICND1 100-101 Cert Guide and ICND2 200-101 Cert Guide included, all DVD content except the practice tests are delivered to anyone who buys an eBook through any channel. How? Here’s what happens:

PDF Appendices on the DVD: The DVD appendices exist as PDF files. These appendices are simply added to the eBook file, so they appear as a part of the eBook.

Most other DVD Content: Posted on a publisher web site, where you can download the content. You have to register your product with the publisher (to prove you own a copy of the book), at which point you can download the Sim Lite, video files, and mind map files.

Notably missing is the PCPT exam software, and the rights to use the practice exams. The issue? Something to do with the ability to deliver a unique license code to each purchaser of the eBook. Currently, the only retailer that I know of that can sell you an eBook version of these books, and deliver that unique license code for the PCPT software and exams, is the publisher itself.

Might that change? I expect it will. But as of the date I posted this blog post, the only path to buy an eBook and get the practice exams is to buy from the publisher.

How to Get the DVD Content (aka Bonus Content)

By the way, the eBooks tell you the basics of what is listed in this post so far. The eBook file lists this info at the end of the eBook file. For example, Figure 1 shows an image from the end of the Amazon Kindle version of the ICND2 book. Note that the text in the eBook confirms that “…does not contain the practice test software that accompanies the print book.”.

Figure 1: Sample Web Page Showing the Bonus Content

That last page of the eBook file also gives instructions of how to get the content that exists on the print book’s DVD. Basically, you register your eBook at Once finished, you will see the DVD content listed under the “Registered Products” tab, as shown in Figure 2. From there, just click the “Access Bonus Content” link to get to the same content found on the print book’s DVD.

Figure 2: eBook Instructions at Book’s End

The Premium eBook and Practice Test

The main purpose of this post was to make sure you knew how to get all the content you can get no matter where you buy an eBook version of the books. A related post tells more about the Premium Editions of the books.

Sim Options for the New Exams
Premium Edition: Best eBook Option
By certskills April 18, 2013 10:15
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Tim Young
Tim Young
April 18, 2013 10:56 am

Hi Wendell, and thanks for all the hard work you put into our CCNA study books. They might be a little on the dry reading side compared to Todd Lammle’s guide, but I’d rather have the thoroughness of material that only your books deliver.

I’m probably going to buy the Premium set, so I can read the eBooks while I commute to work and for reference, and I want the print books for the extra content and so I can markup the pages to assist in the method of study that works best for me.

The only issue I have, that prevents me from purchasing the set at this early date, is that your previous CCNA Certification Sets have had significant amounts of errors and errata in them, especially in the first/second/third printings of a newly revised edition for newly revised tests.

Is there a way that the books be more thoroughly error-corrected from the start, without waiting for new printings to revise them?

Thanks again for all your hard, wonderful work that has helped many of us become CCNAs!

Tim Young
Tim Young
April 19, 2013 3:09 pm

Really? Deleting comments, especially when questioning all the errors & errata that are in the first/second/third editions of the books, as I’ve asked yesterday? Why not just give a decent answer to the question and move on. There’s a lot more people than just myself who pay for the books and probably feel apprehensive about buying a new revision for a year or two.

Tim Young
Tim Young
April 22, 2013 7:16 am

Thanks so much for that, Wendell; was confusing and all not seeing the initial post up there. Really appreciate the answer you gave; I can only imagine how difficult the whole writing & publishing process is.

November 15, 2017 7:15 am

If I have purchased the kindle edition of the book,does that mean I won’t have access to the PCPT software. Because I don’t get the access code?

Reply to  certskills
November 21, 2017 11:22 pm

Thanks for your reply. I have reached out to Amazon. And they responded saying that there is no access for Kindle. Only for hard copy books 🙁

Reply to  Krishna
November 22, 2017 8:10 pm

Thanks a lot for your follow up. Really appreciate your efforts. I have read your post and emailed as suggested.
Please do go ahead and delete the comment. Will let you know how things works out.


December 2, 2017 7:46 pm

I wanted to check on something in the contents of the book.
In your book on the syslog logging, it mention level 0 as Alert. But on the cisco site I find level 0 is Emergency. Am I reading it incorrect or missing some fine print?