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10 Best HTML/CSS Books for Beginners & Pros [2022]

Posted in HTML CSS
Best HTML & CSS Books

Are you a first-year comp-sci student? Entry-level web programmer? Or maybe you’re a seasoned front-end developer looking to enhance your skills. 

HTML books are fabulous resources for anyone interested in upping their programming game. Whether you need support with coding problems at school or want to get your feet wet before taking a course, an HTML programming book could give you that much-needed helping hand. 

But with so many HTML/CSS books on the market, how do you pick the most reputable options? A quick browse through Amazon shows a hodgepodge of positive and negative reviews, making you question your potential purchase. 

We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and rounded up the best books for HTML and CSS this year. Let’s dive in!

What Makes the Best HTML and CSS Books?

Before we jump into the books themselves, let’s explore the criteria we use to include books on our list. 

What distinguishes the best book for HTML and CSS from a mediocre one? 

Here are some things we look out for: 

  • Relevance: Any books from 2011 aren’t relevant unless they’re regularly updated with new editions. The coding world changes every year, so we’re only looking for books published or at least updated recently. 
  • Interactivity: Books aren’t the same as HTML or CSS tutorials, courses, or certifications. However, some books infuse a level of interactivity into their text. You might notice some practice coding experiments or even supplementary online resources to help you practice. 
  • Reviews: We assess reader reviews to learn how coders from various levels experience each book. Of course, a few negative reviews don’t negate the excellence of a particular book. Perhaps the best CSS books for one developer won’t be the same for another. Visual learning, experience, and preferences all play a role in reviews that accurately describe the book experience. 
  • Author credentials and experience: We look at each author’s coding experience. You’ll find that some of the HTML books on our list aren’t written by bestselling authors. But if they have years of experience teaching HTML or CSS in a college or online course? Or if they’ve worked in a senior developer position for a reputable company? That’s valuable to a reader. 
  • Examples and pictures: Even the best books for HTML and CSS can get real dry if the text goes on for pages and pages. We look for books that deliver information in bite-sized sections with plenty of examples and images for engagement. 

So, what’s the best book for HTML given all that criteria? It’s up to you, but we’ve compiled some options.

Best HTML Books for Beginners

1. HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites

Cover of HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites

Author John Duckett has done web development work all across the board, from startups to global giants like Nike and Diesel. So, he brings a wealth of knowledge to HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites. Plus, the printed examples and colorful graphics make it a quicker read than the often long-winded, boring coding books. 

This book is ideal for anyone starting out with HTML and CSS. “You can learn how to create a basic website from scratch and code on both PC and Mac,” says Stavros Zavrakas, a full-stack web developer with over a decade of experience and founder of software house Orthogonality

Zavrakas sees it as the best book on HTML and CSS for beginners and has referenced it many times in his earlier years of coding. 

  • Topics: Web design and structure, typography and layout, practical coding exercises
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Price: $15.79

Get it here.

2. Get Coding! Learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript & Build a Website, App, and Game

Excerpt pages with illustrations from Get Coding!

This is a beginner-friendly HTML book best suited for kids and teens. If you’re a high school grad contemplating web development in college, Get Coding! Offers a stress-free, story-based coding experience. With illustrations and a super accessible layout, information is intuitively separated into easily consumable sections. 

Feel like a noob? This book was meant for you! You’ll read and complete “missions” that leave you more knowledgeable about one more coding aspect than before. Plus, you’ll be able to create a basic website

Our advice? Use this to get your feet wet but don’t rely on it as a comprehensive HTML tutorial. 

  • Topics: HTML basics, webpage project
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Price: $11.59

Get it here.

3. HTML & CSS Quickstart: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Developing a Strong Coding Foundation, Building Responsive Websites, and Mastering Fundamentals of Modern Web Design

Front cover of HTML & CSS Quickstart Guide

Author and web developer David DuRocher covers everything a beginner web developer needs in their knowledge arsenal: design, structure, tags, formatting, workflows, debugging, and more. He even includes an entire chapter about Git — a DevOps source code management tool every programmer uses.

Beginners and experienced programmers recommend the book and praise its inclusion of real-world examples like HTML snippets. Don’t forget to download a strong text or code editor before you dive in. 

One reviewer on Amazon describes this book as ideal for non-linear learners, allowing you to jump around and try new things throughout. The only downside is that the eBook version demands an email signup before you can access the content. While the author has a reputable background, it’s easy to get an unsavory taste with the obligatory information grab. 

  • Topics: Style, tags, elements, formatting, debugging, Git
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: $25.19

Get it here.

Best HTML and CSS Books for Intermediate Coders

4. The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web

Front cover of The Zen of CSS Design

Have a penchant for design? You’ll love this collection of CSS art — successful examples with technical explanations and layout principles — in The Zen of CSS Design. Co-author Molly Holzschlag is a well-known influence in the web design community, already having written another 20 or so books. 

Explore colors, lighting, layouts, imagery, and more from talented CSS coders. Our take? This is the best CSS book for visual learners. Remember, it’s not a how-to CSS book; instead, it’s a showcase of CSS design where you can observe other exemplary coding examples. 

  • Topics: Imagery, layouts, reconstruction, typography, CSS
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Price: $29.95

Get it here.

5. Web Design Playground: HTML & CSS the Interactive Way

Front cover of Web Design Playground

This book is suitable for beginners and intermediate coders. It starts with HTML and CSS foundations but advances to topics like ID and contextual selectors, advanced typography, color schemes, and HTML5. 

Plus, it’s truly interactive. The book includes a helpful web supplement tool where you can take tutorials and practice your code! The only downside we noticed was a few reviews noting missing text, poor print quality, and absent examples.

  • Topics: Tags, text elements, images and media, advanced CSS selectors and frameworks, portfolio creation 
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Price: $30.90

Get it here.

6. CSS Master: 3rd Edition

Front cover of CSS Master: 3rd Edition

If you’re already well-versed with CSS, this book will help you dive deeper into the box model and cascade — and leverage them to create incredible applications. The book covers CSS and SVG graphics, filters and animations, and complex layout skills. 

Front-end developers will hone their craft, while back-end developers can seamlessly explore things on the front end. We also appreciate the author’s dedication to updating the book frequently to capture new CSS developments. 

  • Topics: CSS organization, grid and multi-column layouts, advanced effects like transitions, custom properties, CSS and SVG graphics, 
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: $24.94

Get it here.

Best HTML Programming Books for Advanced Coders

7. Mastering Front-End Web Development: 14 Books in 1. Introducing 200+ Extensions

Front cover of Mastering Front-End Web Development

Author Chong Lip Phang has over a decade of experience writing web development books, and it shows with this Book-Authority rewarded, self-published piece. He covers a wide range of markup languages, but the detailed chapters on HTML 5.2 and CSS 3 are particularly insightful for experienced web developers. 

He also presents extensive knowledge and research on today’s web APIs, including over 200 web extensions. Phang loses a point for the lack of index, however. 

  • Topics: HTML 5.2, CSS 3, web extensions, APIs
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: $63.62

Get it here.

8. CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Problems

Front cover of CSS Secrets

If you’re already an experienced web developer, this CSS book covers tricky problems you’ll run into at work. It’s an advanced piece with specific chapters categorized to address common bugs. Readers applaud author Lea Verou’s ability to walk them through technical communication like a breeze. 

Originally from Lesvos, Greece, Verou teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Comp. Sci and AI department. 

We also love the layout of CSS Secrets. The text doesn’t ramble and is separated by helpful sidebar, examples, and engaging colors. 

  • Topics: Backgrounds and borders, text blending, full-screen API, shadows and tinting, glass and corner effects, frame-by-frame animations, and more 
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Price: $21.99

Get it here.

9. Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS: Build Future-Proof Responsive Websites Using the Latest HTML5 and CSS Techniques, 4th Edition

Front cover of Responsive Design with HTML5 and CSS

Beta365 technical lead Ben Frain has been a web developer since 1996 — a respectable background for an advanced HTML book on our list. 

The book is well suited for someone with an advanced CSS and HTML background, as it explores the latest developments, like grid and subgrid layouts, wide gamut colors, and more. 

Frain updated this 4th edition this year, and reviewers praise the author’s accessible writing, rich examples, and Flexbox chapter. 

  • Topics: Accessibility conformance, media queries, fluid layouts, CSS selectors and color functions, shadows, gradients, filters, layers, truncation, cutting-edge new features
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Price: $44.99

Get it here.

Bonus HTML and CSS Book

10. Conquer CSS: Master the Fundamentals of Cascading Style Sheets and Create a More Beautiful Web Presence

Front cover of Conquer CSS

Itching for an affordable, casual CSS read? We’ve added this bonus CSS book to our list because it’s an easy-flowing, enjoyable experience to read. Plus, reviewers describe it as an easy reference to support them throughout regular CSS tasks. 

  • Topics: CSS organization, responsive units, preprocessors, and postprocessors
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Price: $9.99

Get it here.

Conclusion

HTML books offer endless knowledge from reputable, successful programmers. They’re helpful resources for light reading, problem-solving, and expert advice on tougher HTML and CSS inquiries. 

But books aren’t enough to inform your programming knowledge. Use them in tandem with courses, certifications, and projects to hone your skills. Pick up a book from our list and use it as a reference for skill-building HTML projects!

Practice Your Skills with HTML Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I Write a Book in HTML?

Sure, you could write a web book in HTML but you’ll need advanced knowledge and experience to do so. Consider starting with a smaller project, like a landing page or a survey form. 

2. Which Book is Best for Learning HTML?

Even the best books aren’t enough to master HTML. However, John Duckett’s HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites is a great starting point according to many readers and experienced developers. 

3. Can I Teach Myself HTML?

It’s 2022 — you can definitely teach yourself HTML online! But you don’t have to rely on any one method to do so. Try out HTML projects on your own, read HTML books, and receive flexible guidance through a course or certification. 

Many HTML book readers prefer the structure the books offer, as finding all the information online can feel tedious. 

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