Top critical review
Good content minus poor publishing quality = 3 stars
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2019
If the paperback book I received didn't look and feel like an illegal physical copy or a rather poor quality physical product, I'd be giving it 5 stars, so 3 stars here is for the crappy production quality and not for the content. I borrowed this paperback book from our public library and really liked it. The content is great, and it's a useful tool to get up and started with machine learning -- IF -- you already know how to write code in Python. If you aren't at least familiar with some Python and you aren't going to bother making an effort to learn more, then get a different book. Good luck finding one as good.
Since I really liked the copy I borrowed from the library, and prefer paper books to eBooks (I'm old -- MSDOS old), I decided to get a (paper) copy and saw a good price from an Amazon re-seller. But what I got differed physically quite a bit from the copy I'd borrowed from the library. When I first received the paperback book from a 3rd party vendor, it seemed "off", as if it weren't new or even like new. The cover had some wrinkling near the binding and the book is warped a bit, as if it was stored in a humid environment. It's not warped in a way that makes it unusable, just in that way that gives the entire book a slight curl near the edges. Furthermore, the binding seems "stiff" compared to other Manning Publications products; but this can happen if too much glue is used in the binding during fabrication process. Then, as I flipped through the pages, a lot of them look like they were photocopied (!!!) as opposed to printed, especially with respect to the images. The difference between what I received and the much higher quality book I'd borrowed from the library was dramatic in this regard. I had a panic moment thinking I had purchased a well-done "fake" or illegal copy of the physical book (which might still be true). Manning Publications let's you get a free eBook copy of many of their books, so I went through the steps and was able to register and get my eBook without any problems, so maybe the copy is legit after all. If not, maybe I registered prior to the owner of the original? I have no idea. Since my purchase was through a 3rd party on Amazon and not Amazon directly, the eBook process worked, and it was inexpensive, I'm not going to waste more of my life beyond this review going through the hassle of trying to return it, since the content IS really good, and with wrinkled brow I can deal with with the annoyances of the sub-par product. But I felt that it was important to bring awareness to the fact that either (i) there IS some possibility that illegal paperback copies are being sold, or (ii) that you might get a poorly produced physical copy. If you prefer an ebook version, maybe go with that. The PDF version I got after registration seems fine.