I originally purchased a printed copy of this book direct from the publisher at an expo about 8 years ago, and it was their first attempt to bring their game into a commercial format (they've done earlier books, but those are really prelims). I've used this book a lot for gaming, but more to show others what our local boys are up to.
The book is not as well polished as later editions and does have a few errors which they now provide a document noting where they are, along with some correction they've made, which is helpful.
It is a good attempt to take the game from homebake to proam status. The book is light on universe content, but the Concise Rulebook 4.0 is bigger and was released at the same time to cover the need for more detail. The reference manual while currently pitched at players seems more about keeping the cost of a printed book down when they did the original release. They used to ship a CDROM with the printed book which contained the larger rulebook and all their original supplements and beta documents for the game.
If you're looking for a better rulebook, get their blakc and white Concise Rulebook 4.1 or their first colour 4.2 version. If you want a more polished version of the Reference Manual, get the 2.1 version.
If you're happy with a cheap edition with the barebones to build on, then this edition is for you.
[3 of 5 Stars!]