A new guide for LaTeX beginners has just been published by Packt Publishing. Written by Stefan Kottwitz (of TeXblog fame), it’s a very hands-on approach to teaching LaTeX. The book is filled with examples, and makes use of modern packages, editors and so on. Stefan has put a summary of the contents on his blog.

I saw the book before publication, so had an opportunity to make some suggestions. In general, Stefan’s done a great job and it is a very readable and accessible guide The style is very much meant to be like a conversation with a knowledgeable friend, and I think this works really well.

However, there is a problem. The examples of LaTeX output in the book are poor: they’ve come out as low-resolution JPEGs. This really detracts from the a key point of using LaTeX in the first place: good-looking output. That’s a shame, as if you picked up the book not knowing much about LaTeX you’d take one look at the output and think it was awful.

Overall, I can recommend the content book for helping new users, but with the warning ‘the real output from LaTeX looks much better than in the book’. So one to use as a complement to other texts, rather than alone.