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6 Best C Programming Books Ranked by Review Scoresby@hackernoonbooks
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11,611 reads

6 Best C Programming Books Ranked by Review Scores

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C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide provides an easy-to-understand introduction to C. Programming in ANSI C (8th Edition) by E. Balagurusamy focuses on a standardized version of the language. C In Depth contains over 400 pages of information on the language, with many reviewers praising it as one of the best books to start with. C Programming In Depth is another useful resource for beginners looking to delve into C programming. The 6 Best C Programming Books Based on Amazon Reviews are organized by their total number of reviews as well as their positive averages.
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One of the oldest programming languages still used today is C. This language is among the most popular in the world, having gone as far to spawn offshoots such as C++ and C#. Those who are interested in learning a programming language have likely come across some variation of C, and those who already know these variations might already be familiar with the original. Of course, C is still very different from its successors, and learning it is not as simple as some might think. Aspiring programmers — and anyone else interested in technology — should check out the 6 best C programming books based on their Amazon reviews.

Each item on this list is organized by their total number of reviews as well as their positive averages. Additionally, while there are many programming books out there, very few put a specialized focus on C itself, instead opting for offshoots like C++. This list will only focus on books meant solely for C, so don’t expect to find any compilation books here.

The 6 Best C Programming Books Based on Amazon Reviews

6. C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Greg Perry and Dean Miller

The C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide is exactly what its title implies. Despite it being somewhat outdated, this guide provides an easy-to-understand introduction to C. Reviewers were very pleased with the book’s explanations and instructions, even if a few of them found themselves stuck at certain chapters. You might even find some success in using this book to teach kids how to code! That being said, many reviewers noted errors throughout the material, likely as a consequence of being built off of the older C11 version of the language. It still has plenty of uses, but it might not be the “absolute” beginner’s guide anymore.

Reviews: Out of 637 total reviews, 73% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $29.99 Paperback, $23.99 Digital

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

5. Programming in ANSI C (8th Edition) by E. Balagurusamy

Rather than focusing on the entire C language, Programming in ANSI C focuses on a standardized version of the language. The book covers many concepts found throughout ANSI C, instructing readers on how to perform various operations. Reviewers are generally pleased with the content found within, including an abundance of questions and concepts that can be useful for advanced users alongside newcomers.

Unfortunately, some reviewers noted issues with their copies of Programming in ANSI C. Some received damaged books while others had entire pages missing. Be aware of this if you decide to make the purchase, as even items marked “New” might have a few problems for those who aren’t careful.

Reviews: Out of 1,128 total reviews, 68% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $21.60

Buy now on Amazon or AbeBooks

4. C In Depth by Deepali Srivastava

C In Depth is another useful resource for beginners looking to delve into C programming. This book contains over 400 pages of information on the language, with many reviewers praising it as one of the best books to start with. Sadly, like with E. Balagurusamy’s offering, many reviewers found themselves unhappy with the physical quality of this resource. Some reported issues with the internal CD being taken from its packaging before arrival, while others found the book itself to be in poor condition. Once again, take care when purchasing this item from unofficial sellers. Even if the material is top-notch, it won’t be much use if the book ends up in pieces.

Reviews: Out of 1,266 total reviews, 66% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $30.95

Buy now on Amazon or AbeBooks

3. Let Us C by Yashavant Kanetkar

Let Us C is part of a long line of books updated almost yearly. While the 18th edition is available for purchase, the 17th edition is still fairly recent and is the most well-reviewed version of Yashavant Kanetkar’s offerings. While reviewers seem to be torn on how well it can be used for beginners, they still recommend this book thanks to how much material it covers. There are few books that go as in-depth as this one, making it a great choice for advanced users and beginners alike. Just be aware that, once again, some reviewers encountered issues with reprints and poor physical quality. As always, make sure you obtain these books from reputable sellers!

Reviews: Out of 2,079 total reviews, 67% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $24.95

Buy now on Amazon or VitalSource

2. The C Programming Language by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie

The C Programming Language might be one of the oldest programming books you’ll ever find. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the best. Thanks to it covering the standardized ANSI C language, much of what it teaches can be applied to programming in the modern world. Reviewers praise the book as a fantastic reference, with many of them praising how concise it is while still being very detailed.

A common complaint about this book is how it lacks beginner-friendliness. Many reviewers have noted problems with the print type and the lack of introductory details. This is a book that you’ll need to sink some time into, especially if you don’t already have knowledge of C. If you already happen to know a fair amount about the language, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better resource than this one.

Reviews: Out of 3,557 total reviews, 82% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $38.36

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1. C Programming Language by Darrel L. Graham

Though it shares a similar name to the previous item on this list, Darrel Graham’s C Programming Language offers its own style of teaching. This unique style has led to more mixed reviews than other books here, as it focuses on explaining terms and concepts rather than providing exercises or challenges. It tops this list due to the sheer number of reviews, but it actually has the lowest 5-star average of any other book here.

There is one benefit that Darrel Graham’s offering boasts. It’s the only book on this list to offer its digital version completely for free. It’s unknown if this offer will last, but its relatively low price still makes it a fine companion piece to a more robust programming book.

Reviews: Out of 3,818 total reviews, 62% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $7.98

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

What to Look For When Choosing The Best C Programming Book Based on Reviews

Since this language has numerous offshoots, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a book on C and not one of its variations such as C#. There are surprisingly few books on this language in comparison to others. You’ll also want to be wary of newer books and outdated versions. While the C language has some standardization, it still has some updates that you’ll want to keep an eye on, including versions like C17. As long as you’re thorough in your search for C programming books, you should be able to find plenty of material!

If you’re interested in seeing how C has inspired other languages, try checking out the best C++ books and JavaScript books ranked by reviews!