Go Book Library with iPad Air

by Anders Kierulf


When the iPad mini was released last year, I calculated that you could save money by buying an iPad mini and building a library of Go books using SmartGo Books instead of buying the same books on paper. Since then, SmartGo Books has added more than 30 books – will the same calculation now hold up for an iPad Air?

Start with introductory books. SmartGo Books provides several choices, including Jonathan Hop’s So You Want to Play Go? and Kiseido’s Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, but let’s assume you go with Janice Kim’s acclaimed Learn to Play Go series:
Learn to Play Go vol. 1-5: $35 / $75 (first price is SmartGo Books, second price is the cheapest source for the paperback, in this case Amazon or the Go Game Guru value bundle)

Some books to guide you on your way as a double-digit kyu player:
Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol. 1-4: $24 / $84 (Kiseido)
How Not to Play Go: $4 / $10 (Slate & Shell)
Single Digit Kyu Commentaries vol. 1&2: $11 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
Fundamental Principles of Go: $10 / $24 (Slate & Shell)
Cho Hun-hyeon’s Lectures on Go Techniques vol. 1&2: $20 / $40 (Yutopian)
Basic Techniques of Go: $9 / $18 (Amazon)

The whole Elementary Go Series is a must-read:
In the Beginning: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
38 Basic Joseki: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Tesuji: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Life and Death: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Attack and Defense: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
The Endgame: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Handicap Go: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)

You’ll want to challenge yourself with problem collections:
Rescue and Capture: $3 / $11 (Yutopian)
Tricks in Joseki: $3 / $11 (Yutopian)
Get Strong at Life and Death: $10 / $21 (Kiseido)
Get Strong at the Endgame: $10 / $21 (Kiseido)
Life and Death: Intermediate Level Problems: $5 / $7.50 (Slate & Shell)
Making Good Shape: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Opening Problems: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)

More to study as you reach single-digit kyu:
Patterns of the Sanrensei: $13 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
More Go by example: $7 / $9 (Amazon)
The Workshop Lectures vol. 1-6: $36 / $75 (Slate & Shell combo)
The Go Consultants: $8 / $18 (Slate & Shell)
Magic on the First Line: $7 / $12 (Slate & Shell)
Key Concepts in Life and Death: $7 / $16.50 (Slate & Shell)
Master Play series (5 books): $29 / $81.50 (Slate & Shell)
All About Ko: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Modern Master Games: The Dawn of Tournament Go: $12 / $35 (Kiseido)
This is Go the Natural Way! $8 / $20 (Yellow Mountain Imports)
Correct Joseki: $8 / $15 (Slate & Shell, published as All About Joseki)
Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki: $8 / $20 (Go Game Guru)
The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)

No self-respecting Go player would be missing Invincible:
Invincible: The Games of Shusaku: $20 / $50

Valuable books as you approach dan level:
Catching Scent of Victory: $10 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Breakthrough Attacking Power Yamashita-Style: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Shuko: The Only Move vol. 1&2: $20 / $46 (Go Game Guru)

Our total so far: $462 for SmartGo Books. $1064.50 for printed books.

Those savings are enough to pay for an iPad Air that’s perfect for reading: $499. And that still leaves room to buy six out-of-print books that we’ve brought back to life:
Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go: $10
Killer of Go: $10
Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes: $9
How to Destroy and Preserve: $4
Sabaki – How to Manage Weak Stones: $4
Counting Liberties and Winning Capturing Races: $10

And SmartGo Books includes several books that are not available in print, with more on the way. Let’s throw in two excellent books by John Fairbairn:
The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei: $20
Gateway to All Marvels – The Xuanxuan Qijing of 1347: $15

Of course, you’ll also want SmartGo Kifu, with the full GoGoD collection of 76,000 pro games, 2,000 problems, and joseki matching: $20.

Final tally: $1064.50 for 58 printed books. $1063 for an iPad Air with all the books and software you need to become a strong player, plus a bonus of six out-of-print books that are hard to find at any price, and two books not available in print. You’ll learn more thanks to the interactive diagrams and problems, and you can carry your whole Go library with you.

Of course, few people will actually buy enough books to amortize their iPad. But the savings are substantial, and if you’re on the fence, these savings plus the availability of SmartGo Kifu may tilt the scales.