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Have a friend or family member behind the times on the past, present, and potential future of Bitcoin? Looking for a last minute birthday gift for your compadre lacking the precise knowledge of crypto-currency that changes by the hour in your blog? You’re in luck: a plethora of books explaining the nuts and bolts of Bitcoin and other digital currencies are available to purchase.

The Upside

Understanding the intricacies of digital currencies is no easy task. If you’re late to the game and are intrigued at the idea of Bitcoin, questions about security, how to earn money, the history of crypto-currency, economic trends, and many others are sure to arise on your first day of studying.

Sam Patterson, writing a description for his book Bitcoin Beginner: A Step By Step Guide to Buying, Selling and Investing in Bitcoins, promises thorough analyses of the aforementioned aspects without “overly technical language.” So convenience is a must. And scanning the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section in Amazon.com, you can tell that’s a major selling point.

And obviously some people are on board. An Amazon reviewer gave Bitcoin Exposed: Today’s Complete Guide to Tomorrow’s Currency four out of five stars, stating:

“While I don't plan to be investing in Bitcoins anytime soon, I would recommend this book for someone who is interested in learning more about Bitcoins. It doesn't get greatly technical, but there is a technical appendix, though it was mostly over my head and didn't seem written very well.”

The Downside

Another Amazon reviewer criticized the same book, remarking “My first impression upon flipping through the pages was that someone had typed up a handful of notes in Microsoft Word, printed them out, and glued them together under a decent looking cover…All the knowledge contained in here can be replaced by an hour or two of reading the handful of Bitcoin articles/tutorials on the web.”

This is a theme all too common in criticisms of Bitcoin books. Mainly: for what purpose? Have you ever been on Youtube or Wikipedia? As one reviewer puts it: “Anything included in this "book" you can find by doing a few basic searches on the Internet.” And because everything Bitcoin, especially the price, changes daily, what can a book frozen in time provide? A reviewer for a beginner’s guide shines light on that: “This book is full of outdated information. Nothing on how to use it and where to get it, Don’t buy.”

At the end of the day, it’s the consumers market – and people will buy what they want. Bitcoin enthusiasts may get overzealous at times about the currency being “the future.” Of course, in order for it to be “the future,” a lot of economical, political, technological and consumer choices need to be worked for. But their passion is not unfounded. Taking an active part in anything Bitcoin, whether it be debating its value with a friend or investing in it, takes extensive research. One book probably won’t suffice, but if it gets at least one person talking about the crypto-currency, it’s certainly done its job.

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