The ultimate list of the best copywriting books ever written

best copywriting books

This is a list of the best copywriting books of all time

No, it’s not a complete list of all the great copywriting books. Because the truth is, there are too many great copywriting books to list on a single page.

In fact, I’ve devoured hundreds of marketing and copywriting books over the last 25 years. And many of them were great. (many were also garbage… and most were somewhere in between)

Truth be told, the hardest part of compiling a list like this, is knowing where to start. But, I had to start somewhere… so here we are.

I’ll be sure to add more to this list (time permitting, with my busy schedule) But if you read, and study just the few books listed here… It will still put you miles ahead of 90% of the people calling themselves copywriters, today.

And if you’d like to add your own candidate to this list, feel free to add it in the comments below.

(Note: NONE of the links on this page are affiliate links. I make no money from these recommendations. I just think these are some of the best copywriting books ever written)

So, without further ado…


Here’s (the beginning of) my ultimate list of the best copywriting books ever written


Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

claude hopkins - scientific advertising

Of course, no list of marketing books would be complete without mentioning Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.

While this may not technically be a “copywriting” book, it does outline some detailed advice for writing effective ad copy. (For example… knowing the difference between features and benefits, and the importance of getting your readers attention)

But one of my biggest takeaways from this book was the science behind testing and measuring results.


One idea is to test small and make sure your adverting works, before spending a ton of money on rolling it out to a mass market.

And always track and measure the results, so when you make any changes you know which changes are having the biggest effect on your conversion rates.

In fact, the concept of testing and measuring was one of the main reasons I got into “Direct Response” marketing in the first place.

I always found it frustrating to spend money on ads for my businesses, without being able to measure which ads were bringing in the biggest results.

Sure, we could see sales coming in which made it obvious that our advertising was working.

But not being able to see which ads were bringing in the most sales, or why certain ads worked better than others… Well, direct response marketing, with it’s natural ability to test and track results, was the answer to that problem.

Claude Hopkins understood a fundamental truth that seems to allude many advertisers, even to this day.

That fundamental truth is… Advertising’s job is to sell. Not to be fancy, or clever, or cute… But to sell!

And knowing how to measure the effectiveness of an ad, is crucial.


Scientific Advertising is a fairly quick read, and if you’re a serious copywriter or marketer, this should be a cornerstone piece in your library.


The Robert Collier Letter Book

Book Review - Robert Collier Letter book

I love this book! That’s why I’ve read it at least a half dozen times over the years.

While some of the language used is a bit old fashioned, the bulk of this book goes straight to the heart of what makes good sales copy connect with your audience.


This was the first book I ever read that talked about why you should always start your ads by entering the conversation already going on inside the mind of your reader.

Simply put…Your readers are busy with their own lives. They have their own hopes, fears, and desires that take up the bulk of their daily thoughts.

Nobody asked you to interrupt their day with your sales pitch. And you’ll have more success with your advertising if you spend a week learning to care about your audience, than if you spend a year trying to get them to care about you and your offer.

Even today, many copywriters talk about this concept as if it were a brand new revelation.

But the Robert Collier Letter Book is nearly 100 years old. And it proves that the idea of empathizing with your readers, and then gently guiding them towards your offer, turns you into a welcome part of their lives. Instead of just another obnoxious salesman.


The copywriting lessons taught in this book are timeless. And while there are a lot of other copywriting books that talk about understanding your audience, and getting inside your readers mind… If you want to see where most of that wisdom started, then the Robert Collier Letter Book is a must have book for your library.


Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz

Book Review - Breakthrough Advertising - Eugene M. Schwartz

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz is one of those classic copywriting books you’ll need to read more than once.

I’ve read it twice now, and I still haven’t digested all the brilliant concepts contained in this book. (I wish I could find an audio-book version, so I could listen to it while driving in my car)

This is not just a book for copywriters, but a book for every business owner, or advertiser, who wants to increase sales. (if you’re not interested in increasing sales, then this book might not interest you)

Bear in mind… Breakthrough Advertising was originally published in 1966, so some of the language is a bit outdated. Also, there was no Internet back then, so it doesn’t cover every aspect of modern advertising and marketing.

But, the psychology of human (consumer) behavior hasn’t changed in the last 50 years. (it probably hasn’t changed in the last thousand years. But I wasn’t alive back then, so I can only guess about that last part)

In other words… Some concepts are timeless. And Eugene Schwartz understood this, very well.


One of the bigger takeaways I got from this classic copywriting book was the concept of market awareness.

There’s basically four states of awareness for any viable target market. And understanding which state your audience is currently at, brings the job of writing persuasive sales copy closer to the realm of science.

The basic states of awareness are…


1) The Most Aware

Here, the customer knows of your product – knows what it does — and knows he wants it.

At this point, he just hasn’t gotten around to buying it yet. Your ad need state little more except the name of your product and a bargain price or special offer.


2) The Customer Knows of the Product, But Doesn’t Want It Yet

Here, your customer isn’t completely aware of all your product does, or isn’t convinced of how well it does it.

In this case you need to display the name of the product and point out its superiority, and/or the benefit it presents to your customer


3) The customer knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.

Here, your customer has a need, but doesn’t yet know you offer a solution to their problem.

In this case we need to emphasize results, and show that our product can provide the desired results. Better than the competition.


4) Your customer knows he has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution.

This is where your customer has a problem, but is either ignoring it, or finding ways to work around it, because they don’t know there is a solution.

At this point, your headline needs to call out the problem, and let the customer know there is a solution. And that your product IS the solution.


5) There’s also a fifth stage, which is “Completely Unaware”

This is when your audience has no knowledge of a problem, and is not looking for any solutions.

This is usually not your ideal target market (unless you’re just in it for a good challenge)

Going after this type of market can be done, but it’s a long shot. And it can take an awful lot of time, energy, and money to convince people why they should want something that they have no interest in.


The “states of awareness” are just one of the many advanced concepts in this classic copywriting book. And even though the book is over 50 years old… the main concepts in it are timeless.

If you’re serious about being a great copywriter, then Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz is a must have book for your study.



OK, I’ve got a bunch more great copywriting books that I’m going to add to this list. But right now I need to get back to work.

So if you could only pick a few of the best copywriting books ever written, to give you a solid foundation for great copywriting, the ones listed here should be cornerstone pieces for your library.


If you’d like to add your own candidate to this list, feel free to add it in the comments below.



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