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10 of the Best Free Python Books

| February 26, 2013 | 1 Comment
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Python is used as a scripting language for web applications, embedded in software products as a scripting language, used in artifical intelligence tasks, and for system administration tasks. It is a simple and powerful language, perfectly suited for beginners and professional programmers alike.

The focus of this article is to select some of the finest Python books which are available to download for free. The vast majority of the books featured here can also be freely distributed to others.

To cater for all tastes, we have chosen a wide range of books, encompassing general introductions to Python, books that help you develop games, introduce kids to the world of programming, and build Python programming skills. All of the texts here come with our strongest recommendation. So get reading (and downloading).

1. Think Python
Think Python
Website www.greenteapress.com/thinkpython/thinkpython.html
Author Allen B. Downey
Format PDF, Postscript, LaTeX, HTML EPUB
Pages 234

Think Python is a concise and gentle introduction to software design using the Python programming language. Intended for would-be developers with no programming experience. This book starts with the most basic concepts and gradually adds new material at a pace that is comfortable to the reader.

This book providing a wealth of information on:

  • Variables, expressions and statements
  • Functions
  • Conditionals and recursion
  • Fruitful functions
  • Interation
  • Strings
  • Lists
  • Dictionaries
  • Tuples – ordered list of elements
  • Files
  • Classes and objects / Classes and functions / Classes and methods
  • Inheritance
  • Case studies on interface design, word play, data structure selection, and Tkinter
2. Snake Wrangling for Kids
Snake Wrangling for Kids
Website www.briggs.net.nz/snake-wrangling-for-kids.html
Author Jason R. Briggs
Format PDF
Pages 150

Snake Wrangling for Kids is a printable electronic book, for children 8 years and older, who would like to learn computer programming. It covers the very basics of programming, and uses the Python 3 programming language to teach the concepts.

There are 3 different versions of the free book (one for Mac, one for Linux and one for Windows). There have been around 50,000 downloads, as of 2012. It has been rewritten and updated, with new chapters (including developing graphical games), and new code examples

This version is licensed under the Creative Commons license.

  • Use fundamental data structures like lists, tuples, and maps
  • Organize and reuse your code with functions and modules
  • Use control structures like loops and conditional statements
  • Draw shapes and patterns with Python’s turtle module
  • Create games, animations, and other graphical wonders with Tkinter
3. Natural Language Processing with Python
Natural Language Processing with Python
Website nltk.org/book/
Author Steven Bird, Ewan Klein, and Edward Loper
Format PDF, Ebook, HTML
Pages 504

Natural Language Processing with Python – Analyzing Text with the Natural Language Toolkit offers a highly accessible introduction to natural language processing, the field that supports a variety of language technologies, from predictive text and email filtering to automatic summarization and translation. Learn how to write Python programs that work with large collections of unstructured text. Access richly annotated datasets using a comprehensive range of linguistic data structures, and understand the main algorithms for analyzing the content and structure of written communication.

This book is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No-Derivative-Works 3.0 US License.

This book helps to:

  • Extract information from unstructured text, either to guess the topic or identify “named entities”
  • Analyze linguistic structure in text, including parsing and semantic analysis
  • Access popular linguistic databases, including WordNet and treebanks
  • Integrate techniques drawn from fields as diverse as linguistics and artificial intelligence
4. Dive into Python
Dive into Python
Website www.diveintopython.net
Author Mark Pilgrim
Format PDF, HTML, Word 97, Plain Text, HTML (single file), XML, Build scripts
Pages 327

Dive Into Python is a hands-on guide to the Python language. Each chapter starts with a real, complete code sample, proceeds to pick it apart and explain the pieces, and then puts it all back together in a summary at the end.

Explores:

  • Native Datatypes
  • The Power of Introspection
  • Objects and Object-Orientation
  • Exceptions and File Handling
  • Regular Expressions
  • HTML Processing
  • XML Processing
  • Scripts and Streams
  • HTTP Web Services
  • SOAP Web Services
  • Unit Testing
  • Refactoring
  • Functional Programming
  • Dynamic Functions
  • Performance Tuning
5. The Standard Python Library
The Standard Python Library 
Website effbot.org/zone/librarybook-index.htm
Author Fredrik Lundh
Format PDF, Single chapter PDFs, HTML
Pages 300

The Standard Python Library is a guide for serious Python programmers. It offers accurate, author-tested documentation of all the modules in the Python 2.0 Library, together with over 300 annotated example scripts using the modules.

The book has chapters on:

  • Standard and Core Modules
  • Threads and Processes
  • Data Representation
  • File Formats
  • Mail and News Messages
  • Network Protocols
  • Internationalization
  • Multimedia Modules
  • Data Storage
  • Tools and Utilities
  • Platform Specific Modules
  • Implementation Support Modules
  • Other Modules
6. The Definitive Guide to Pylons
The Definitive Guide to Pylons
Website pylonsbook.com/en/1.1/
Author James Gardner
Format PDF, HTML
Pages 568

Pylons is a lightweight web framework built on standard Python tools that provides a robust environment for writing modern web applications. It is well known for its clean architecture and loosely coupled approach, both of which make web development fast, flexible, and easy.

The Definitive Guide to Pylons teaches you everything you need to know about web development with Pylons – from how to create your first “Hello World!” application to how to use each of Pylons’ core tools including FormEncode, Mako, SQLAlchemy, and Routes to how to perform more advanced tasks such as testing, using Unicode, internationalizing your application, authenticating users, and more.

It also helps developers make use of the software’s built-in support for session management, web services, and Ajax.

This book is made available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version.

7. A Byte of Python
A Byte of Python
Website www.swaroopch.com/notes/python/
Author Swaroop C H
Format PDF, HTML, Full source
Pages 120

A Byte of Python is a free book on programming using the Python language. It serves as a tutorial or guide to the Python language for a beginner audience.

This book is written for the latest Python 3.

This book is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License 3.0

Topics covered include:

  • Basics of Python
  • Operators and Expressions
  • Control Flow
  • Functions
  • Modules
  • Data Structures
  • Problem Solving
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Input Output
  • Exceptions
  • Standard Library
8. Think Complexity
Think Complexity
Website greenteapress.com/complexity/html/jndex.html
Author Allen B. Downey
Format PDF, HTML
Pages 148

This book is about data structures and algorithms, intermediate programming in Python, computational modeling and the philosophy of science:

Topics covered include:

  • Graphs including random and connected graphs
  • Analysis of algorithms – the branch of computer science that considers the performance of algorithms
  • Small world graphs
  • Scale-free networks: Zipf’s law, cumulative, continuous and Pareto distributions
  • Cellular automata
  • Game of Life
  • Fractals
  • Self-organized criticality
  • Case studies
9. Programming Computer Vision with Python
Programming Computer Vision with Python
Website programmingcomputervision.com
Author Jan Erik Solem
Format PDF
Pages 300

This book gives a hands-on introduction to the underlying theory and algorithms of computer vision (images, videos, etc). It seeks to explain computer vision in simple terms, without becoming too embroiled in theory. You will learn techniques for object recognition, 3D reconstruction, stereo imaging, augmented reality, and other computer vision applications as you follow clear examples written in Python. There are complete code samples with accompanying explanations.

The Python language compes with many powerful modules for handling images, mathematical computing and data mining.

The final draft of the book is released under a Creative Commons license.

Topics covered include:

  • Learn techniques used in robot navigation, medical image analysis, and other computer vision applications
  • Work with image mappings and transforms, such as texture warping and panorama creation
  • Compute 3D reconstructions from several images of the same scene
  • Organize images based on similarity or content, using clustering methods
  • Build efficient image retrieval techniques to search for images based on visual content
  • Use algorithms to classify image content and recognize objects
  • Access the popular OpenCV library through a Python interface
10. The Art and Craft of Programming Python Edition
The Art and Craft of Programming Python Edition
Website beastie.cs.ua.edu/cs150/book/index.html
Author John C. Lusth
Format PDF, HTML
Pages 115

This book is designed to be used as the primary textbook in a college-level first course in computing. It takes a fairly traditional approach, emphasizing problem solving, design, and programming as the core skills of computer science. However, these ideas are illustrated using Python.

Although Python is used as the language, teaching Python is not the focus of this book. Rather, Python is used to illustrate fundamental principles of design and programming that apply in any language or computing environment. In some places, the author has deliberately avoided certain Python features and idioms that are not generally found in other languages. There are already many good books about Python on the market; this book is intended as an introduction to computing.

Topics covered include:

  • Literals, Combining Literals
  • Precedence and associativity
  • Variables
  • Assignment
  • Conditionals
  • Functions
  • Input and output
  • Scope
  • Loops
  • Lists
  • Recursion
  • Two-dimensional arrays
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Category: Python Book

About the Author ()

My name is John Link.I am 26 years old. My major is Computer science and technology. I am a junior programmer with Python.

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