In today’s business world, getting your message across to every potential customer is crucial.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking to expand your client base or an employee hoping to impress your boss, developing your copywriting skills can help you do it better.
And if you’re in search of a list and reviews of some of the best copywriting books, you’ve landed in the right place.
I’ve read most of these and listed specific details about each one in my review.
1. Scientific Advertising & My Life in Advertising, by Claude Hopkins
If you want to understand the art and science of copywriting, you should start by reading Claude Hopkins.
The 20th century advertising icon is credited with inventing modern advertising by introducing a scientific approach to the practice. His book Scientific Advertising, published in 1923, laid out his ideas for how advertisements should be structured and tested before being released into the wild.
To this day, it remains one of the most influential books on copywriting ever written.
2. Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy
This is a must-read for anyone in advertising, even if you’re not planning to write copy. It’s a collection of Ogilvy’s best work, which he wrote between 1963 and 1975. Because it was written so long ago (and because the language used in advertising has changed so much since then), some of it may feel dated.
But there’s plenty here that will still be relevant to any copywriter today—it could even help inform your own brand of writing style. The book is also short: only about 130 pages long.
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3. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, by Joseph Sugarman
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook was written by the late Joseph Sugarman, who was a copywriter and marketing consultant for more than 35 years.
In this book, Sugarman shares his expertise in writing copy that sells—and he does so with a sense of humor.
He also provides insights on writing copy that stands out from the crowd, gets noticed by your target audience, gets results for your business and helps you get more clients.
4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini
This is the number one best-selling book on the topic of persuasion and marketing. It’s written by Dr. Robert Cialdini, who is a marketing professor at Arizona State University and has spent decades researching how people are persuaded to buy things.
He’s identified six principles of persuasion that you can use to make your copy more effective:
- The principle of authority (people will listen to an expert)
- The principle of commitment and consistency (people want to be consistent in their decision-making)
- The principle of social proof (people are likely to follow the group)
- The principle of scarcity (if something seems rare, it becomes more valuable)
- The principle of liking (if you like something, you will buy it)
- The principle of reciprocity (giving people something makes them want to give back)
5. The Boron Letters, by Gary Halbert
The Boron Letters is a collection of letters written by Gary Halbert to his clients and prospects. As such, it should be no surprise that they’re well-researched and well-written—but this book goes beyond being simply good copywriting advice.
The letters are honest and personal, but not too much so; they provide practical lessons (and often examples) while also conveying the author’s personality and experience.
They were written over decades during which he mastered his craft, so there’s plenty of wisdom in each one.
Halbert had great success with direct marketing copywriting before the Internet existed—so if you want learn how someone could make money using snail mail in the pre-eCommerce era, this is your book!
6. Confessions of An Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy
Published in 1963 and written by the man who coined the term “brand,” this book is still relevant today. Ogilvy was an advertising genius and wrote this book after he had been fired from his job at a London-based agency as part of a cost-cutting measure.
The book was published when he took over another company, which became one of the most successful agencies at that time.
In Confessions of An Advertising Man, you’ll learn how to write copy for print ads (which were still popular then), radio ads, television commercials and more.
7. The Wizard of Ads, by Roy H. Williams
This book is written by the late copywriting legend and founder of Dacor, Roy H Williams. He wrote a lot of books on the subject, but this is the one I found most useful as a beginner.
It’s not perfect; some of his examples are dated (e.g., he references ads that ran in the 1950s) and it can be hard to follow at times because there are so many different ideas presented without much explanation or order to them.
But overall it’s an excellent guide to writing copy—and if you want to learn more about how to make money with your writing skills, it will give you plenty of ideas!
8. Great Leads, by Michael Masterson and John Forde
This book gives you a step-by-step approach to writing sales letters that convert. The authors, Michael Masterson and John Forde, are both experts in copywriting and they’ve written this book specifically for people who want to improve their lead generation process.
The book is published by John Wiley & Sons and it’s a great resource for copywriters who want to learn how to write better leads.
9. The Ultimate Sales Letter, by Dan Kennedy
The book The Ultimate Sales Letter offers a step-by-step plan to create a high-converting sales letter. In it, author Dan Kennedy explains how to write an eye-catching headline and body copy, knowing which words are most effective in persuading readers to buy, and using psychology principles that drive people to action.
He also provides examples of his own work (including how he used these techniques to sell millions of books) as well as tips from other successful copywriters.
This book gives you everything you need in order to write great copy that converts. It’s thorough without being overwhelming or complicated; it strikes the perfect balance between providing guidelines and allowing room for creativity.
There are plenty of real-life examples from professional writers who use this system successfully; it helps you understand what makes people tick so your ads will resonate with them on an emotional level
10. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
This book is a classic. In it, Zinsser offers advice on all aspects of writing, from choosing the right words to crafting an effective sentence. He also shares some amusing anecdotes and practical suggestions for writers.
Like most books in this list, On Writing Well is still relevant today—it hasn’t fallen out of style or become dated since its publication in 1976 (it was updated in 2005). And that’s because this book is timeless: Zinsser’s advice will help you write better whether you’re creating B2B copy for your business or writing something for the web.
11. Reality in Advertising, by Rosser Reeves
How can you write effective advertising? It’s a question that preoccupies both copywriters and their clients, but it’s also one that many people don’t know how to answer. This book by Rosser Reeves is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about this art form.
The book was first published in 1962, when the field of advertising was still in its infancy. It has since gone out of print and is not easily found online (although you can find it on Amazon).
Reeves lays out his theory of “reality in advertising” as follows: “People have notoriously short memories; they tend to forget what they paid last year for something or where they bought it; but if you tell them where your product came from, what went into its making and why it costs what it does—if you let them see through the window of your factory—they will remember.”
12. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got, by Jay Abraham
Jay Abraham is a world-famous marketing consultant. He wrote this book in 1986, and it was the first book he wrote, yet it still remains relevant today. In Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham (or GETTING EVERYTHING YOU CAN OUT OF ALL YOU’VE GOT for short), you’ll learn how to get the most out of your marketing efforts and boost your bottom line.
13. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles is a book by Steven Pressfield that is about the creative process, and how to overcome resistance to it. The book was written in 2002, and has been updated since then.
14. How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers, by Henneke Duistermaat
Henneke Duistermaat is a copywriter, blogger and copywriting coach. She’s also the author of How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers, which she wrote in 2014.
The book is designed to help you write better web copy for your business’s website or blog — especially when it comes to attracting new customers.
Henneke says that writing seductive web copy is all about “focusing on what [your] readers want.”
She explains that if you can do this well enough, then your readers will always be happy with their experience receiving whatever information they’re looking for from you (whether it’s information relevant to their needs at that moment or not).
15. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr.
The best books on copywriting are ones that can help you improve your writing skills, whether you’re new to the field or have been practicing it for years. T
he Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., first published in 1918, is a classic guide that has stood the test of time. It’s short and easy to read, which makes it a great primer for anyone who wants to learn about style in general.
This book isn’t just relevant today—it’s timeless. Even if you don’t plan on writing copy professionally, knowing how to write well will help your resume stand out when you apply for jobs (and impress employers).
16. Copy Logic!, by Mike Palmer and Michael Masterson
The book is about how to write copy for the web. It offers a comprehensive guide to creating compelling, high-converting marketing copy that’s in line with your brand identity and will help you reach your target audience.
Copywriters learn how to find their unique voice and improve their skills through exercises such as writing headlines for random objects found in nature or coming up with taglines for familiar products like the iPhone.
The book also includes examples of great calls-to-action from companies like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, and more—so you can see what works best when trying them out yourself!
17. Cashvertising, by Drew Eric Whitman
The book is based on the premise that advertising is not a science. It provides many examples of how to use psychology to get your message across, and it has a lot of examples of ads that have been successful. The book is written in a conversational style, which makes it easy to read and understand.
18. The Copywriter’s Handbook, by Robert Bly
The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly is the must-have book on writing copy that sells.
In this book, you’ll learn how to write copy that gets results and makes money. You’ll also learn how to write copy that converts and makes people buy your product or service.
19. Breakthrough Advertising, by Eugene Schwartz
This book isn’t just about writing ads that work—it’s about writing direct response ads that work. Direct response advertising is one of the most effective ways to get your message in front of your target audience, and Eugene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising is still one of the best guides for using it effectively.
If you’re new to copywriting or direct response advertising, this book will help you understand what makes a good ad and how to create one yourself. If you’re an experienced copywriter looking for inspiration or a refresher on some fundamentals (or if you just want another read), Breakthrough Advertising is a great choice too.
The bottom line? Whether you’re brand-new to copywriting or have been doing it since before social media was invented, Breakthrough Advertising should be required reading for anyone interested in the art and science of marketing through words alone
20. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
If you’re looking to improve your copywriting skills and make a living doing it (or even just make some extra money on the side), this is probably the book you should start with.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is an introduction to positioning, which is the most important concept in marketing. Positioning is all about creating a perception in the mind of your prospect that your product or service fills a need they have. In other words, it’s about getting them to buy into what you’re selling.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind describes exactly how you should position yourself, based on what kind of product or service you provide—and according to Ries and Trout’s research, there are only three ways to do so: 1) by being first; 2) by being unique; or 3) by being benefits-oriented (i.e., focusing on what makes your product better than competitors’).
21. How to Write a Good Advertisement, by Victor Schwab
How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
The copywriting bible. This is how you should write your headlines, and it’ll help you with your body copy as well. It’s very short and easy to read, but it packs a lot of punch. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- Focus on the reader (i.e., who is this ad for?)
- Write in the active voice (i.e., use verbs)
- Use short sentences (i.e., fewer than 20 words each)
- Use short paragraphs (i.e., no more than three sentences)
- Use lists—they’re easier to read than blocks of text
- Keep things conversational—write like you’re speaking directly to your audience
22. Tested Advertising Methods, by John Caples
This is a classic copywriting book, one of the earliest on the topic. It’s also one of the most readable and practical, so you can use it as a guide even if you aren’t someone who likes to read books. The author lays out his material in an easy-to-follow way, with plenty of examples.
Even better, he uses real data from his own campaigns to make his points—and since these are actual ads from real companies (including Coca Cola), they’re already proven winners that work for many different businesses in different industries.
23. Breakthrough Copywriting, by Ray Edwards
Ray Edwards is a copywriter and the author of many best-selling books. Breakthrough Copywriting is his latest book and contains some of his most popular articles pulled from other books, as well as new material.
It’s a great way to get an overview of his ideas on writing persuasive copy without having to invest in several other books.
The book covers some general principles for creating persuasive copy: how to write headlines that people actually read, for example, or how to create headlines that are so good they make people want the product or service being advertised even if they don’t need it at all.
Ray also talks about how different parts of our brain process information differently—and therefore respond differently—to different types of language used by writers; this includes using certain words or phrases (like “finally!”) which activate certain areas in our brains responsible for pleasure and reward signals (or “Dopamine hits,” as Ray calls them).
24. The Robert Collier Letter Book
If you want to learn about direct mail marketing and how it’s been done for decades, check out this book. It was written in 1948 by Robert Collier himself, who was a successful salesman and publishing executive in the early 1900s.
With his book, he shows readers how to write effective letters that lead to sales or subscriptions. The lessons inside will help you craft emails, direct mail campaigns (like the one I sent out at the beginning of this article) and even landing pages that convert well on your site.
This is a very practical book with actionable advice on writing copy that sells—so if you’re looking for something educational but also fun to read through while learning what works best when it comes time for your next marketing campaign then consider checking out The Robert Collier Letter Book!
25. Everybody Writes: The Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley
Writing for the web requires a different way of thinking than writing for print, and Ann Handley’s book is a great resource for that. The book covers everything from how to write headlines that get people to click, to how to make sure your content engages readers and keeps them reading through your entire post.
Handley provides plenty of tips on how you can make the most out of your website’s content by creating engaging writing, managing style guides and more.
And this isn’t just about creating blogs—it also covers email newsletters and other forms of digital communication.
26. On Writing, by Stephen King
In On Writing, Stephen King takes the reader on a journey through his own writing career. He talks about how he started out as a writer, how he got published and why it took him so long to get there. He also talks about what it’s like for authors today, in terms of advances, royalties and marketing their work.
King doesn’t just share his wisdom with you—he tells you exactly how he learned these lessons in real time while working on books such as Carrie and The Shining (which was turned into an iconic film by Stanley Kubrick).
If you’ve ever wanted to become a writer yourself, this book will definitely help guide your way!
These are the best copywriting books I’ve found in my research.
Copywriters need to be able to paint a picture of what they’re selling, and these books will help you do just that.
As always, we hope this list was useful for you and that it will help you on your journey to becoming a better writer.
If you don’t see your favorite book here (or if we missed one), let us know in the comments below.
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