Why do I need a book when it’s all on the web?

December 31, 2014


Raspberry Pi Insider Guide

Do I really need a book where all the information is in one place, and always readily available?

People often ask me why they should purchase one of my books when they can get all the information and learning they need from the web? It’s a fair question, and over time it is one I have thought hard about, so much so that my response nowadays is simply: ‘Can you?’

We all know there is a vast amount of information on the web, but a lot of it’s repetitive, and without structure or depth. Some of it is also of dubious quality and, on occasions, just plain wrong. Of course, there is the exception to the rule and I can think of several websites that are amazing works and both comprehensive and accurate in their coverage. But they are few and far between. If your intention is only to occasionally dabble in a particular subject then there are sites that will provide you with exactly what you need. If you are serious about leaning and mastering a subject then a book wins hands down.

I received an email from an interesting character a few months back who was asking me some questions about various aspects of programming in Raspbian. I answered briefly and also suggested that he would find exactly what he need in one of my books (I am a salesman at heart!). His response was that he didn’t need a book and could get everything he needed off the web. I could only assume he meant from me, as the information he was after wasn’t presented by any search engine I tried afterwards.

Most of my books come in at around 80,000 words; some like Raspberry Pi Insider Guide exceed that by more than 30,000 words. That’s a lot of work and I have yet to see that sort of textual commitment on any website. Books are therefore often more comprehensive in their overall coverage of a topic. And once you have the book, printed or electronic, it remains with you, and that cannot be said of a website which can disappear without trace overnight.


Leave a Reply


  1. Norman Dunbar

    April 23, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Plus, you can read a book in the bath! You can’t always do that with a Web site.

    Enjoying your Raspbian Assembly Language book at the moment, but being an MC68000 programmer, the sours and destroy are the wrong way around! 🙂


  2. Mark Paget

    August 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Bruce, just starting reading pi assembly language and wanted to say thanks 🙂 Been wanting to learn assembly for 20+ yrs and have now made the plunge. Mostly thanks to you’re pi book that finally gave me the push … plus potential to reverse engineer malware – my ultimate aim. Agree wholeheartedly a book is the way to go. I do buy a lot of ebooks, but there is nothing like having a physical copy in your hands. You sum up my deliberations exactly on the structure and depth books provide. Thanks again, Mark