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Best Copywriting Books – Recommended Reading 

 January 28, 2021

By  Csaba Borzasi

"Hey Csaba, what are the best copywriting books out there? What do you recommend to get started?"


I've gotten that question probably more times that I can count over my years as a freelance copywriter and business owner.


And I answered it diligently in almost every single case.


However, I recently decided that the ONLY way to settle this once and for all is to compile an "ultimate copywriting book list" that has something for everybody, regardless of where they are in their copywriting journey.


And I'm sharing that exact list with you right inside this post!

Interested in more great content on copywriting? Check out my Copywriting Resource Hub where you'll find in-depth guides, interesting case studies, and practical resources that will help you boost your conversions and sell more, without being salesy or aggressive.


1 - COPYWRITING BOOKS (THE "GREATS")

The Advertising Solution - by Craig Simpson and Brian Kurtz


This book takes the writings of Caples, Hopkins, Ogilvy, Schwartz, and Robert Collier and makes them more accessible to a modern audience.


If you struggle to read any of the books listed below in this section, try this book first. It pulls out the best advice from the very best copywriters of the past century. Highly recommended.

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising - by Claude Hopkins


My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising are both revered in the direct response community as “classics” that everyone should read. David Ogilvy (see below) said that Scientific Advertising changed his life.


Because Hopkins wrote his books nearly a century ago, the language can be a bit difficult, but the principles he taught are pure gold. Because the copyright has expired, you can find both of these books free online with a little digging.

The Robert Collier Letter Book - by Robert Collier


First published in 1931, The Robert Collier Letter Book is by far the top book on writing sales letters.


But it goes beyond that. As every great copywriter knows, these techniques are directly transferable to the Internet, whether through web copy or email or whatever.


This book earned Robert Collier the distinction of being one of the greatest marketing minds in history.


His sales letters were successful because he wrote to his readers' needs.


As an expert in marketing, his sales savvy and writing expertise placed hundreds of millions of dollars in his clients' pockets.

Tested Advertising Methods - by John Caples


Another old classic that's all about creating copy that works. Caples talks about formulas for increasing the selling power of your copy and how you can better appeal to the masses.


Definitely worth adding to your library. If possible, get the fourth edition or earlier (the fifth edition has a few changes that at least one expert has severely criticized).

On Advertising - by David Ogilvy


This book is often referred to as a classic. Written by one of the original Mad Men, this book is all about creating effective advertising.


The old ads featured in the book are charming and perhaps a bit dated, but the advice is still applicable to copywriters today.

Breakthrough Advertising - by Eugene Schwartz


If you could only read one book about creating effective copywriting, it should be this one. This is not an easy read.


It’s densely packed with the mechanisms for creating effective direct response advertising—the kind of messages that customers can’t say no to.


This book is a bit more expensive than the typical book, and worth every penny. Warning: if you see a copy of this book for less than $125, it is almost certainly a fake.


2 - OTHER COPYWRITING BOOKS 

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters - by Joseph Sugarman


Also known as "The Advertising Secrets of the Written Word", this book covers all kinds of copywriting advice from clarity and testimonials to establishing authority and selling a cure (rather than prevention).


A very good primer on creating copy that converts potential customers into buyers.

Marketing Bullets - by Gary Bencivenga


Written by the man who is almost universally known as “the world’s greatest living copywriter,” these short essays are a remarkable resource for copywriters and marketers.


If you follow the advice in each bullet, your copy will be more impactful and more effective than ever.

The Well-Fed Writer - by Peter Bowerman


Focused on the business side of “commercial writing”, this book is a bit dated, but it includes a lot of information that will help you get started.


If you’re struggling to create a pipeline of regular, high-paying work, this book may be useful.

The Ultimate Sales Letter - by Dan Kennedy


This book is a fantastic resource for anyone who writes sales letters or online sales pages. It steps through the process of assembling an effective sales message, no matter what medium you write for.


It’s an easy read but don’t be fooled, the principles taught here are all “advanced”.


3 - BOOKS ON WRITING ITSELF

On Writing - by Stephen King


As you might guess from the author and title, this book is about writing in general, not copywriting. But it is a great book about the craft of writing, dealing with rejection and overcoming the resistance.


What’s more, it’s filled with anecdotes from the life of the best horror writer ever to grace a best-seller list. 

The Elements of Style - by Strunk and White (and Pearson).


If you didn’t pick up a copy of this book during your high-school or college writing course, it’s time to do that now.


This is the go-to desk reference when it comes to questions about grammar and style.


4 - BOOKS ON MARKETING, PSYCHOLOGY, AND BUSINESS

Influence and Pre-suasion - by Robert Cialdini.


Influence is probably the most-ever referenced book on how human behavior is affected by things like scarcity and social proof.


If you haven’t read it, add it to your bookshelf now. And Pre-suasion takes a look at what you can do before you ask for the sale to make sure you’ll be successful. Full of interesting stories and lots of science, we highly recommend both of these books.

Dotcom Secrets - by Russell Brunson


This book will walk you through the process of creating a sales funnel for your product or business. If you write funnels, email sequences, or landing pages for your clients, get this easy-to-read book.

Brainfluence - by Roger Dooley


In this book, Dooley shares short write-ups of significant findings from neuroscience and suggests how it might translate into the sales process (and other business applications).


It’s not a book about one big thing, rather it’s about dozens of ideas you can test and try to make your copy more effective


That's it. Hope you've enjoyed this list 😉


*The links above are affiliate links. This means that - if you end up buying one of these products - I'll make a few cents on your purchase. It’s a great way to support my work at no extra cost to you. Appreciate your support 🙏

Interested in more great content on copywriting? Check out my Copywriting Resource Hub where you'll find in-depth guides, interesting case studies, and practical resources that will help you boost your conversions and sell more, without being salesy or aggressive.

Csaba Borzasi


Csaba Borzási is the founder of Game of Conversions. After spending 10 years learning the ins and outs of persuasion psychology, Csaba now focuses on what he loves most: helping ambitious entrepreneurs grow their online business and get more profitable customers. When he isn't geeking out on discovering how the human mind works, you can probably find him climbing a mountain, dancing salsa, or traveling around the globe.

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