5 copywriting books to put on your wishlist

In the Wild West world of copywriting, it’s hard to know what advice to trust. There are copious amounts of gurus out there selling you the dream of tapping away for a few hours a week whilst you sip on your cocktails on the beach. However, if you’re serious about developing your craft, you need to hit the books. Here are some to get you started. 

For your coffee table: D&AD. The Copy Book 

Can great copy be considered art? This body of work makes that easy to answer. Coffee books are a great way to express yourself and share your interests with other people. Anyone would be proud to have this book in their collection. Beautifully published thanks to a partnership with TASCHEN, it contains examples of brilliant advertising. The examples are accompanied by essays from leading professionals worldwide. 

For your work bag: The Copywriting Handbook by Robert W. Bly

This copywriting book is consistently highly rated. Thanks to its clear steps, helpful checklists, engaging style and actionable techniques, Bly’s guide is a classic in the copywriting world. 

Look no further than this for your work bag staple to learn how to write clear, concise and compelling copy. 

For your bookshelf: Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

David Olgilvy was an advertising pioneer. He grew his own agency from humble beginnings in the 1940s to becoming one of the eight biggest advertising agencies in the world. 

We have a lot to learn from our copywriting predecessors. Reading this book, you’ll find some techniques that are dated, but the principles he sets out are timeless. Sometimes you have to go back to the foundations of what makes copywriting and advertising work. 

For your viral ad: Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger

If you’re a copywriting professional, you have no doubt had a client ask you to make something ‘go viral’. It’s a fickle marketing tactic that frustrates many copywriters and it’s not as simple as many people think it is. That being said, it’s important to make content that’s shareable. 

But how can you write share-worthy content? 

Berger gives you actionable tips on how to make your product or idea get talked about. With an interesting perspective on social influence, this book is a must for making you think differently about product advertising. 

For your creativity: Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write With Clarity, Emphasis, and Style by Stephen Wilbers

A truly brilliant copywriter is a wordsmith. Don’t neglect to work on your writing style overall – it will be your strongest asset. This book by Wilbers gives you exercises to do to improve your writing style and make it more impactful. One key focus of the book is writing with economy, which we preach about at Readable. Conciseness is a vital ingredient in effective writing – especially when writing to sell.