Kevin Muldoon March 20th, 2012

Web Worker’s Library: Awesome Printed Web Design and Development Books

There’s no doubt that eBook devices such as the Kindle and the Nook have changed how people read books forever. At the start of 2011 Amazon reported that for the first time eBook sales exceeded paperbacks. It’s doubtful this trend will ever be reversed.

Though with E ink devices, image heavy books tend to not work well (anyone who has tried viewing a PDF on an eBook will testify to this). This may change in 2012 with the rise of tablet devices, but for now printed books are still in demand. For instance, many web workers prefer to read web design and development books in printed form.

In this article we will look at 25 printed web design and development books that we think you will find useful. Many of these books are also available in digital form and the prices of which have been denoted where applicable.


1. Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement
Print: $22

One of the most popular books available on Progressive Enhancement. It focuses on progressive enhancement with markup, CSS, javascript and accessibility.

Adaptive Web Design

2. Mobile First & Responsive Web Design Bundle
Print: $30, Ebook: $15, Print/Ebook Bundle: $38

A good bundle from A Book Apart. Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First provides a strategic guide to mobile design whilst Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design focuses on designing for mobile browsers, netbooks and tablets.

Mobile First & Responsive Web Design Bundle

3. The Smashing Books Bundle
Print: $49.80 , Ebook: $24.90, Print/Ebook Bundle: $69.70

Smashing Magazine have produced a beautiful series of books on web design. Smashing Book #3 is available for pre-order now, and set for release at the end of April 2012. So at the moment the best deal is the Smashing Books Bundle which contains Smashing Book #1 and #2.

The first book focuses on usability, color theory and main rules for web design, whilst the second book provides more practical advice and tips on building mobile apps and e-commerce websites.

The Smashing Books Bundle

4. Photography For The Web
Print: $34.95, Ebook: $29.95, Print/Ebook Bundle: $39.90

A digital photography book that teaches you how to take photographs specifically for the internet. It covers using light effectively, displaying and sharing your photos online, software tips to help enhance your images, and much more.

Photography For The Web

5. The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book
Print: $26.23

A whole book that is dedicated to understanding Photoshop layers. Masking, isolation, layer effects, styles and composite images are all covered in this useful book.

The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book

6. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Print: $22.22

With over 100,000 copies sold, Steve Krugs ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ is one of the most popular and entertaining books on web usability. Covers designing billboards, navigation, usability testing and much more.

Don't Make Me Think

7. The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2
Print: $19.80

One of the most inspirational web design books available. Patrick McNeil looks at the basic principles of design and showcases over 650 websites. Sites are divided by type (e.g. ecommerce, directory etc), style (minimal, illustrated etc) and by structural elements (buttons, tabs etc).

The Web Designer's Idea Book, Vol. 2

8. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Print: $17.99

A book that looks at the psychology of design. Author Susan Weinschenk helps you see design from a non-designers point of view and looks into what people see, think and read. It also looks at how people focus their attention and are motivated.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

9. The Little Black Book of Design
Print: $9.99

The design field’s ‘Art of War’, The Little Black Book of Design has inspired thousands of designers with short useful tips such as ‘Always ask why’ and ‘You built it, so natrually you understand it. Will the user?’.

The Little Black Book of Design


10. Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Websites
Print: $23.99

A great book for those who want to learn how to create database driven websites using PHP, MySQL and JavaScript. Perfect for those who want to know more about the backend.

Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript

11. Effortless E-Commerce with PHP and MySQL
Print: $23.09

Another PHP and MySQL book though this one focuses specifically on ecommerce. It covers structure and design, security, user accounts, creating a catalog, the checkout and administration.

Effortless E-Commerce with PHP and MySQL

12. Murach’s PHP and MySQL
Print: $34.34

With 24 chapters spanned over a whopping 840 pages, Joel Murachs book is a great book for beginners and advanced developers alike. A good choice for anyone looking for a PHP/MySQL reference.

Murach's PHP and MySQL

13. JavaScript & Jquery: The Missing Manual
Print: $23.99

Features an introduction to Javascript, Ajax and jQuery and includes lots of examples of how these languages can be used online to build forms and connect to services such as Google Maps.

JavaScript & Jquery: The Missing Manual

14. PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy
Print: $26.99

A good introduction to PHP and the MySQL databases. PHP Solutions features a lot of practical examples of using PHP such as generating images, creating online galleries and managing databases.

PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy


15. The CSS3 Anthology
Print: $39, Ebook: $17 , Print/Ebook Bundle: $34 (Promotion)

A great CSS resource that addresses common problems of text styling, navigation, cross browser techniques and more. The CSS3 Anthology is uniquely set up in a question and answer format to make it easy to find solutions to common CSS problems.

The CSS3 Anthology

16. HTML5 & CSS3 For Web Designers Bundle
Print: $30, Ebook: $15 , Print/Ebook Bundle: $38

Another good combo from A Book Apart. Jeremy Keith’s HTML5 for Web Designers summarises the 900 page HTML5 spec into a more concise 85 pages. Dan Cederholm’s CSS3 for Web Designers explains gradients, shadows, rounded corners and other CSS3 goodies.

HTML5 & CSS3 For Web Designers Bundle

17. CSS Pocket Reference
Print: $8.86

Whilst CSS is easy to understand, it’s very easy to forget the vast number of CSS selectors and properties available. The CSS Pocket Reference is a useful companion for any designer who wants a quick answer to a problem.

CSS Pocket Reference

18. Sergey’s HTML5 & CSS3: Quick Reference
Print: $46.14

Another good reference book that covers HTML5 and CSS3 topics such as HTML5 Elements, Web 2.0 Forms, HTML5 APIs, browser compatibility and more.

Sergey's HTML5 & CSS3: Quick Reference

19. Introducing HTML5
Print: $20.99

Introducing HTML5 gives a good introduction to the possibilities of HTML5. Lots of practical examples are given such as applying the most important JavaScript APIs, how to build web forms, and more.

Introducing HTML5


20. Drupal User’s Guide: Building and Administering a Successful Drupal-Powered Web Site
Print: $23.17

Drupal developer Emma Jane Hogbin provides a step by step guide of how to use the Drupal content management system in this comprehensive user guide. It covers basic Drupal functions up to advanced topics such as designed for Drupal, accessibility and search engine optimisation.

Drupal User's Guide


21. Professional WordPress Plugin Development
Print: $24.44

A practical approach to learning how to develop WordPress plugins. The book walks you through how to create a plugin file, using hooks, and much more. Code examples are given to help you understand what you need to do.

Professional WordPress Plugin Development

22. Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog
Print: $24.34

A great book from Thord Daniel Hedengren that helps you understand code concepts such as post types, child themes, the functions.php file and much more.

Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog

23. Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes
Print: $39.95, Ebook: $29.95 , Print/Ebook Bundle: $49.90

Written by 4 experienced WordPress theme developers, Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes shows you how you can build, promote and sell professional designs using the Thematic framework.

Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes

24. The WordPress Anthology
Print: $39.95, Ebook: $29.95 , Print/Ebook Bundle: $44.95

A good WordPress guide for beginner to intermediate users. The WordPress Anthology covers subjects such as the WP loop, post type, taxonomies and the WordPress API.

The WordPress Anthology

25. Digging Into WordPress
Print/Ebook Bundle: $75, Ebook: $27

Arguably the best WordPress reference available, Digging Into WordPress has over 400 pages of content. It’s how the WordPress codex should have been written!

Digging Into WordPress

With all the great web design and development books out there it’s difficult to get them all into this list. So leave a comment if your favourite design or development book was left out and tell us why it’s your fav.


Kevin Muldoon

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity, Smartphone and Gears and Social Media on his personal blog. He is also contributor at award winning VPN blog He can also be found on Twitter: @KevinMuldoon.


  1. LOVE this list. Already have a few of them, need to get more. I do prefer print books to online books for some reason…something about getting the hands onto the paper…

  2. I’ve got around a dozen web development books back home though I travel a lot so I will probably invest in a tablet this year in order to read graphic heavy books on the road. I do agree though – the printed version is much better for reading.

  3. Great list! Many of these have been very helpful in aiding me in vancouver web design! They have really helped guide the way that I do things!

  4. There are some awesome books here. I just finished reading HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett which was amazing and I think I am going to get JavaScript & Jquery: The Missing Manual next. Wish me luck!!

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