Best Books About Copywriting (Including 7 You Can Read for Free!)

Jul 6, 2021 | 0 comments

You’re here either because:

A: You want to learn how to write copy that sells.
B: You already write copy and want to get better.
C: You’re writing a blog on the best books about copywriting.

Either way, you came to the right place!

This list on the best books about copywriting has a little of everything, including books from the copywriting greats and Amazon bestsellers. These are the books that professional copywriters read again and again to rethink the way they approach copywriting.

So read on.

If You’re Learning How to Write Copy…

Take it step by step!

Delving into copywriting can quickly become overwhelming if you try to consume every copywriting blog, course and book you can get your hands on.

I strongly recommend you read one book at a time and take time to take notes or really digest what you’re learning. Then, put your learnings to the test as soon as possible before moving on to another resource.

These books aren’t a quick fix or overnight solution to writing copy for your website. They are however reads that will reshape how you view copywriting and advertising as a whole. Plus, you get to learn copywriting from the pros for free with the PDF books available!

In the words of Jim Edwards, “Commit to getting good at it. Then do it and practice it. Before you can be great you have to be good. Before you can be good you have to be bad. Before you can be bad, you have to try.”

13 Best Books About Copywriting

Copywriting Secrets by Jim Edwards

Don’t be fooled by the scammy cover—this book is copywriting gold!

Jim Edwards breaks down foundational copywriting principles and tactics into short chapters that are perfect for quick bursts of reading.

10 Reasons Why People Buy From Copywriting Secrets

Chapter 3 will help you come up with tons of different ways your product benefits the customer. Edwards outlines the “10 reasons why people buy” and 10 accompanying questions you can ask to get to the most powerful value proposition for your product or service.

The following questions are taken directly from the book Copywriting Secrets:

  1. Make Money: What are 5 ways my product/service will help them make money?
  2. Save Money: How can I or my product/service help them save money over the next week, month or year?
  3. Save Time: How much time can I save them and what else could they do with that time?
  4. Avoid Effort: What is something they don’t have to do anymore once they get my product/service?
  5. Escape Mental or Physical Pain: What physical pain do I eliminate for them & what does that mean for their life or business? How does my product/service eliminate mental pain or worry for them?
  6. Get More Comfort: What are 3 ways I or my product can help them feel more comfortable?
  7. Achieve Greater Cleanliness/Hygiene or Attain Better Health: How does my product/service make it easier for them to achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene? How does my product/service help them feel more healthy or more alive?
  8. Gain Praise: What are 3 ways my product/service is going to help them be the envy or their friends?
  9. Feel More Loved: What are 3 ways my product/service is going to help them feel more loved by their family?
  10. Increase Popularity/Social Status: How will buying my product/service make them feel more popular and increase their social status?

Edwards recommends you try to answer each question as many times and in as many ways as you can to come up with endless value propositions for your sales copy.

Brilliant Copywriting by Byron Perdue

I absolutely loved reading this book. Byron Perdue is a British guy with tons of wit.

One of my favorite parts of Brilliant Copywriting is the interviews with experienced copywriters from large companies, like Innocent. Each interview gives you amazing insight into how each copywriter thinks and you get many creative writing tips, like how to defeat writers block.

“Brilliant copywriting is about improvement by inches, not great leaps forward.” – Byron Perdue

Words That Sell by Richard Bayan

Words That Sell is a reference book full of lists of powerful phrases for selling your products. It’s the kind of book you want to keep handy on your desk so it’s always accessible when you’re writing.

It starts with instructions on how to use the book and a little “crashcourse on copywriting” then you’re left with pages and pages of copy you can use word-for-word on your own offers!

Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso

Web Copy That Sells is practical, direct and relevant for anyone selling online.

In the first chapter, Veloso mentions a copywriting tactic you’ve probably heard of (or will soon).

The tactic is copying successful ads and sales pages, by hand, until you internalize the method and mindset. In the section “How to Become a Great Web Copywriter in Five Hours or Less”, she recommends you copy the sales page on MagicWordsThatMakeYouRich.com .

So, what’re you waiting for? Grab your notepad and start copying!

Read Web Copy That Sells for free here.

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Eugene Schwartz is one of the most famous copywriters of the last century, with his most notable years in advertising during the 1950s and 1960s. He’s the guy who came up with the 5 stages of awareness, a tactic that every marketer on earth uses today when describing their target audience.

The 5 Stages of Awareness:

  • Unaware: The prospect doesn’t know they have a problem.
  • Problem Aware: The prospect knows they have a problem but don’t know how to fix it.
  • Solution Aware: The prospect knows the solutions available to them, but they haven’t found your solution yet.
  • Product Aware: The prospect is aware of your solution, but isn’t totally convinced it’s right for them.
  • Most Aware: The prospect knows all about your product and what it costs, and is ready to make a purchase.

Read Breakthrough Advertising for free here.

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Claude Hopkins was a no nonsense kind of guy. His book (like many on this list) may seem really old, but I can guarantee that the principles in it are just as effective today as they were back then. Hopkins talks purely about sales and advertising, which is exactly what copywriting is.

My favorite part about this book is the example of all the old ads he includes.

Read Scientific Advertising for free here.

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman

“Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.” – Joe Sugarman

Joseph Sugarman is an advertising legend. He’s known for many online copywriting tactics, but one that is especially popular (and important) is the idea that the goal of the headline is to get the reader to read the first sentence. And the goal of the first sentence is to get the reader to read the second sentence and, so on.

Sugarman also recommended making the first sentence of your copy very short. That way, the reader can’t help but move on to the second. 😉

In the words of the Amazon reviewer ‘dg’, “If this book is the only place you learn about copy in your life, but you master all the principles, you will be an amazing copywriter.”

Read The Adweek Copywriting Handbook for free here.

The Boron Letters & More by Gary Halbert

Fun fact: Gary Halbert wrote the Boron letters while in prison at Boron Federal Prison Camp for mail fraud. He wrote the 25 letters to his son Bond to pass on his wisdom on life and advertising. I haven’t read all the Boron Letters myself, but it’s helpful to know the context of where and how they were written otherwise you’ll wonder “uh, where is this going?”.

If you want the full story on how Halbert ended up in prison, it’s hilarious and totally worth the read.

Read the Gary Halbert Letter for free here.

Reason Why Advertising by John E. Kennedy

Kennedy is credited with defining copywriting most accurately as “salesmanship in print”. The story of how John E. Kennedy got into advertising is something right out of a movie. You can read the full story in the opening of this PDF from Andy Owen Copy and Creative.

Many copywriters learn a ton from this book and highly recommend it. For me, it wasn’t that revolutionary. I was expecting a book that teaches you ‘reason why’ copywriting and this book doesn’t teach you it. Instead, Kennedy makes a case for ‘reason why’ copywriting with impressive stats and examples that show it’s 3x more effective than other forms of “advertising”.

Read Reason Why Advertising for free here.

The 16-Word Sales Letter by Evaldo Albuquerque

The 16-Word Sales Letter gives you step-by-step instructions for writing powerful sales letters that convert even the most hesitant customer. My favorite part about this formula is “getting the reader to believe in the one belief”.  You fill in this formula for your offering and it helps determine your ultimate goal.

Here’s the formula: “This new opportunity is the key to their desire and it’s only attainable through my new mechanism”.

Then, he gives amazing examples of this formula in action, like this P90-X example:

“Avoiding the plateau effect (new opportunity) is the key to building muscle (desire) and it’s
attainable only through the P90-X “muscle confusion”system (new mechanism)”.

Read The 16-Word Sales Letter for free here.

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

Read The Irresistible Offer for free here.

The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly

Read the Copywriter’s Handbook for free here.

Oglivy on Advertising by David Oglivy

Read Oglivy on Advertising for free here.

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Get the Best Copywriting Books on Your Kindle

You can send the books with PDF links to your Kindle in just a few clicks!

  1. Download the book PDF to your computer.
  2. Go to “My Account” in your Kindle Settings and get your Send-to-Kindle email address.
  3. Open your email and create a new draft addressed to your Kindle email address.
  4. Make the subject line ‘Convert’ and attach the PDF download to the email.
  5. Hit send! It will be sent right to your Kindle Library for you to read.

How to Choose the Best Books About Copywriting

There are tons of copywriting books out there, and some are definitely better than others.

Before you waste your money on a copywriting book, read the review on Amazon. You can get a really good idea of what you’re going to learn from a book by seeing what others have to say. And if you have a Kindle, send a sample to it so you can preview the book before buying!

Happy learning, copywriters!

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Swell Copy is where you'll learn to write copy that increases your sales and turns your site visitors into loyal customers.

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