Thu 11 Jul 2013
Some people don’t realize this, but there are a lot of free books about the Python programming language. Yes, some of them aren’t that great, but there’s a lot of really good resources out here that are free. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the free books and other resources you can use for my favorite programming language.
Free Python Books
One of the first Python books I found for free online was Dive Into Python by Mark Pilgrim. You can get his book for free on the book’s website or you can buy a copy on Amazon. In fact, his book was being put out by Apress for a while. Those links are for the Python 2.x version of the book. Pilgrim has also written a version of the book for Python 3, which you can find here. I used his original online book myself when I was learning Python and I still sometimes refer to it in a pinch.
Another free book that I’ve heard of is called Think Python by Allen B. Downey. You can check out the free PDF version on Green Tea Press’s website. It’s also been put out by O’Reilly, so you can get it at Amazon too. This one’s been on my reading list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. However, most Python books that are put out on the O’Reilly brand tend to be good, so I have high hopes for this one. The PDF version was last updated in May 2013 at the time of this writing.
You can may also find A Byte of Python by Swaroop C H on the author’s website. He has it in several formats including a dead tree version that he appears to sell himself. His website is a little confusing in that you need to scroll down to the bottom to actually find links to the book itself. This is another book I keep meaning to read, but haven’t done so.
There are 3 online books put out by WikiBooks that cover Python:
I don’t know much about these, but if you’ve read them, feel free to leave a comment on whether or not they’re any good.
All three of Al Sweigart’s books are free. I’ve read bits and pieces of his books and they’re interesting. He aims his books at beginners. Here are his books:
- Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python
- Making Games with Python & Pygame
- Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python
Zed Shaw is a well known Python programmer and he put together his own online book called Learn Python the Hard Way. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, but haven’t tried it myself. It looks more like an online course than a book, but multiple websites call it a book, so there you go.
You can also find these and a whole bunch of other free books at http://pythonbooks.revolunet.com/ which links to the books or their websites.
Other Free Resources for Python
Here are some of my favorite Python resources that I use:
- The Official Python Documentation
- Other Official documentation and links
- Python Module of the Week series
- Raymond Hettinger’s blog – this one’s usually for intermediate to advanced programmers
And here’s some others that I found recently or have heard good things about or both:
- The Python Challenge
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Packaging
- Python at the Code Academy
- Learn Python
- Google’s Python Class
Feel free to list your favorite resources in the comments whether or not they’re on this list.