Top 10 Best Web Scraping Books


Before starting reviewing the top 10 web scraping books let me first introduce to you what is web scraping and what is the best language for web scraping.

What Is Web Scraping

Web Scraping which may also be called Screen Scraping, Web Data Extraction is a way to extract huge amounts of data from websites where the data is extracted and saved to a local file on your computer or in the cloud or to a database file or in spreadsheet format.

Data on most websites can only be seen on a web browser. Examples are data listings at yellow pages directories, real estate sites, social networks, online shopping sites, etc. Most won’t allow you to simply have a copy of the data to look at on your computer.

This makes the only option to manually copy and paste it from your browser to a local file on your PC. This is very time-consuming so there is another option. Web Scraping automates it, so you don’t have to manually copy it, the Web Scraping software will do the same thing in way less time. Web Scraping saves the data straight to a local file on your computer or in the cloud or to a database file or in spreadsheet format with no work on your part.

Interesting Web Scraping examples to keep you motivated learning web scraping are How to scrape Facebook Pages/Groups posts and comments into Excel and How to Scrape a website into Excel.

What Is The Best Language For Web Scraping?

The most important piece in web scraping is the processing of HTML/XML. Because most browsers don’t require the cleanest (or standards-compliant) HTML/XML in order to be rendered, you need an HTML/XML parser that is going to be able to make sense of HTML/XML that is not always well-formed.

The best language is whatever language for programming that you know best and you can use it to write an efficient HTML/XML parser. The database support, error handling and logging are all going to be better if you have a better understanding of whatever language you are using to scrape.

Some programming languages seem to be popular than others due to having special libraries for screen scraping.For example, Python has BeautifulSoup and Scrapy  framework, Ruby has Nokogiri and Java has Jsoup.

We go on to explore our top ten picks for web scraping books it would be a great idea to check into if you have an interest in the field! We hope you enjoy these picks.

Python Web Scraping Books

The first set of web scraping books I am going to cover are books about Python Web Scraping.

1.Automate the Boring Stuff with Python by Al Sweigart

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python Practical Programming for Total Beginners 1st Edition by Al Sweigart
There are plenty of people spending hours doing what they can make a computer do for them, quite easily with Python as a tool.Sometimes just renaming files or updating the cells on spreadsheets can take all night and make your eyes feel like they are going to pop out of your head.

In this book, Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, you will learn how to use Python to make programs that will do all that tedious, grunt work for you.Filling out online forms, searching for files, creating, moving, updating and renaming files and folders and searching web content and even downloading, all of these can be done with no effort, and so much more too.Reminder emails and text, encrypting PDF’s, the list goes on and on.Includes stepped order instructions and practices at the end of each chapter to where you will be grasping Python and using it well in no time.

First, you will learn and master the basics of Python programming, then you’ll write Python programs that get useful tasks done without any effort that used to be done the hard way.

My personal opinion:This book kills two birds with one stone.It teaches you the basics of Python programming language in the beginning chapters and in the later chapters it teaches you how to use the language for web scraping.I highly recommend this book if you are new to Python or programming in general and at the same time you want to learn web scraping.

For people with intermediate and advanced experience in Python can skip the first chapters(Part I of the book) and start reading chapters covering tasks automation(Part II of the book).

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2.Web Scraping with Python(Community Experience Distilled) by Richard Lawson

Web Scraping with Python by Richard Lawson
The author being a practitioner of web scraping has provided the high-level idea of web scraping process,real-life problems and solutions.It has been referred to as hands down the best resource some have found for practical examples of how to write web scrapers in Python. There is a chapter on Scrapy (A Fast and Powerful Scraping and Web Crawling Framework), a chapter on dealing with CAPTCHA, a chapter on handling dynamic (i.e javascript based) pages, and a chapter on concurrent downloads, plus a few others covering housekeeping details like parsing scraped pages and caching.

My personal opinion:The book introduces concepts gradually,starting from intuitive and basic concepts to concepts of medium difficulty and high difficulty.

This book dives directly into web scraping.I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a basic understanding of Python language or willing to learn Python language.Python is a very easy general purpose programming language to learn.If you want to get started learning it I recommend you get this book(Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming).

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3.Web Scraping with Python by Ryan Mitchell

Web scraping with python by Ryan Mitchell
This book introduces web scraping and crawling techniques which give access to unlimited data from any web source with any formatting. This book is ideal for programmers, webmaster and other professionals familiar with Python. The book teaches the basics of web scraping but also goes into more complex subject matter on it, digging deeper. There are even code samples available to aid in your understanding and the writer’s directions are easy to read and simple.

The reader is given the confidence to use well-known Python packages such as BeautifulSoup and get good and practical results from scraping web pages very quickly, so the book will get you up and running!

Among the things you will learn are to get a general overview of APIs and how to use them, methods for storing the data you scrape off and how to download, read, and extract data from documents. Another great aspect you can learn from the book are clean-up techniques for badly formatted data, scraping JavaScript and so much more.

My personal opinion:This book is similar in content to Web Scraping with Python by Richard Lawson above,but I prefer the one written by Richard Lawson because it introduces concepts gradually,starting from intuitive and basic concepts to concepts of medium difficulty and high difficulty.

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4.Learn Web Scraping With Python In A Day by Acodemy

Learn Web Scraping With Python In A Day by Acodemy
The book takes a look at what web scraping is, Why you should use Python for the scraping, how to structure projects, command line scripts, Modules and Libraries and managing them.It also teaches web scraping and web crawling in a very brief way as the title suggests IN A DAY.

My personal opinion:I didn’t find much value in this book because it doesn’t cover concepts in depth.

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PHP Web Scraping Books

The next set of web scraping books I am going to cover are books about PHP Web Scraping.

5.Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk

Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHPCURL by Michael Schrenk
This is a very popular book and Michael Schrenk, a highly regarded webbot developer, teaches you how to make the data that you pull from websites easier to interpret and analyze. Also how to automate purchases, auction bids, and other online activities to save time. The code in the book is exceptionally simple and the book is a good tool for new writers of Web Scrapers.

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6.Instant PHP Web Scraping by Jacob Ward

Instant PHP web scraping by Jacob Ward
In this great book, you can get up and running fast with the basics of web scraping using PHP. You will learn it in an Instant! A short, fast, focused guide delivering immediate results. It teaches you to build a re-usable scraping class to expand on for future projects. To Scrape, parse, and save data from any website with ease. In addition how to build a solid foundation for future web scraping topics.

The book is only 48 pages and the progression of the topics, from simple to advanced. The chapters build on each other, so you don’t get lost. Definitely one of the simplest and best PHP Web Scraping Books.

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7.Guide to Web Scraping with PHP  by Matthew Turland

Guide to web scraping by Matthew Turland

This book teaches Web Scraping using PHP. This book, written by scraping expert Matthew Turland, and it is basically an overview of ways to scrape the web and addresses simple ways to interesting and complex ways to do it. All while using many different technologies and framework.

“Phparchitect’s Guide to Web Scraping” has been said to be the best introductory book for PHP scraping by some readers, however, if you already have some knowledge you may not learn anything new from the book. The book is filled with working code examples and has comparisons for a few different libraries that are used to parse and scrape HTML code.

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8.Web Scraping for PHP Developers by Sameer Borate

Web scraping for PHP developers by Sameer Borate
A simple and lightweight guide to web scraping for PHP developers needs a mention here, this guide teaches you how to collect the information you need from online data and sources. Getting content without a web browser is easy with these powerful techniques.

This book showcases many different ways to scrape using PHP to get the content, in 19 minutes of reading and with the first few chapters covered you will be ready to start scraping.Even learning how to scrape authenticated content that requires logins, etc. will not be difficult after reading this book. Submitting and parsing Ajax data streams is even possible which isn’t with more simple PHP methods. This book covers all of this and so much more. It will be well worth the time invested in reading it.

Java Web Scraping Books

9.Instant Web Scraping With Java by Ryan Mitchell

Instant web scraping with Java by Ryan Mitchell
This is an excellent reference for web scrapers. This book contains very short web scraping procedures and techniques using Java. The book focuses on “Instant Web Scraping with Java”. Instant Web Scraping is excellent for starters who do not know a great deal about Java but are willing to learn. Step by step detailed instructions which explain the Java language and how it is used as well as benefits.

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10.The Ultimate Guide to Web Scraping by Hartley Brody

The Ultimate guide to web scraping
This book provides all the tips and tricks the author, Hartley Brody has learned in the field. “The Ultimate Guide to Web Scraping” is designed to help users hone and perfect their web scraping skills.The book includes sample code ( in Python and Ruby) as well.

The author explores the most common complaints about web scraping, and why they probably don’t matter for data is sent from a website to computer end user’s computer and is parsed, and how you can use web scraping to intercept this process and get data you are looking for. In short understanding web technologies, finding and extracting data is what this book is all about and a must read for anyone with these goals in mind.


No one book is one-size-fits-all but the above reviewed books together with the knowledge you will find from fellow web scrapers online will help you get up and running.

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