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perlbook - Books about and related to Perl


There are many books on Perl and Perl-related. A few of these are good, some are OK, but many aren't worth your money. There is a list of these books, some with extensive reviews, at . We list some of the books here, and while listing a book implies our endorsement, don't think that not including a book means anything.

Most of these books are available online through Safari Books Online ( ).

The most popular books

The major reference book on Perl, written by the creator of Perl, is Programming Perl:

  • Programming Perl (the "Camel Book"):
    1. by Tom Christiansen, brian d foy, Larry Wall with Jon Orwant
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-00492-7 [4th edition February 2012]
    3. ISBN 978-1-4493-9890-3 [ebook]

The Ram is a cookbook with hundreds of examples of using Perl to accomplish specific tasks:

  • The Perl Cookbook (the "Ram Book"):
    1. by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington,
    2. with Foreword by Larry Wall
    3. ISBN 978-0-596-00313-5 [2nd Edition August 2003]

If you want to learn the basics of Perl, you might start with the Llama book, which assumes that you already know a little about programming:

  • Learning Perl (the "Llama Book")
    1. by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy
    2. ISBN 978-1-4493-0358-7 [6th edition June 2011]

The tutorial started in the Llama continues in the Alpaca, which introduces the intermediate features of references, data structures, object-oriented programming, and modules:

  • Intermediate Perl (the "Alpaca Book")
    1. by Randal L. Schwartz and brian d foy, with Tom Phoenix
    2. foreword by Damian Conway
    3. ISBN 978-1-4493-9309-0 [2nd edition August 2012]


You might want to keep these desktop references close by your keyboard:

  • Perl 5 Pocket Reference
    1. by Johan Vromans
    2. ISBN 978-1-4493-0370-9 [5th edition July 2011]
    3. ISBN 978-1-4493-0813-1 [ebook]
  • Perl Debugger Pocket Reference
    1. by Richard Foley
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-00503-0 [1st edition January 2004]
  • Regular Expression Pocket Reference
    1. by Tony Stubblebine
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-51427-3 [July 2007]


  • Beginning Perl
    1. by James Lee
    2. ISBN 1-59059-391-X [3rd edition April 2010]
  • Learning Perl
    1. by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-52010-6 [5th edition June 2008]
  • Intermediate Perl (the "Alpaca Book")
    1. by Randal L. Schwartz and brian d foy, with Tom Phoenix
    2. foreword by Damian Conway
    3. ISBN 0-596-10206-2 [1st edition March 2006]
  • Mastering Perl
    1. by brian d foy
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-10206-7 [1st edition July 2007]
  • Effective Perl Programming
    1. by Joseph N. Hall, Joshua A. McAdams, brian d foy
    2. ISBN 0-321-49694-9 [2nd edition 2010]


  • Writing Perl Modules for CPAN
    1. by Sam Tregar
    2. ISBN 1-59059-018-X [1st edition August 2002]
  • The Perl Cookbook
    1. by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington
    2. with foreword by Larry Wall
    3. ISBN 1-56592-243-3 [2nd edition August 2003]
  • Automating System Administration with Perl
    1. by David N. Blank-Edelman
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-00639-6 [2nd edition May 2009]
  • Real World SQL Server Administration with Perl
    1. by Linchi Shea
    2. ISBN 1-59059-097-X [1st edition July 2003]

Special Topics

  • Regular Expressions Cookbook
    1. by Jan Goyvaerts and Steven Levithan
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-52069-4 [May 2009]
  • Programming the Perl DBI
    1. by Tim Bunce and Alligator Descartes
    2. ISBN 978-1-56592-699-8 [February 2000]
  • Perl Best Practices
    1. by Damian Conway
    2. ISBN: 978-0-596-00173-5 [1st edition July 2005]
  • Higher-Order Perl
    1. by Mark-Jason Dominus
    2. ISBN: 1-55860-701-3 [1st edition March 2005]
  • Mastering Regular Expressions
    1. by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-52812-6 [3rd edition August 2006]
  • Network Programming with Perl
    1. by Lincoln Stein
    2. ISBN 0-201-61571-1 [1st edition 2001]
  • Perl Template Toolkit
    1. by Darren Chamberlain, Dave Cross, and Andy Wardley
    2. ISBN 978-0-596-00476-7 [December 2003]
  • Object Oriented Perl
    1. by Damian Conway
    2. with foreword by Randal L. Schwartz
    3. ISBN 1-884777-79-1 [1st edition August 1999]
  • Data Munging with Perl
    1. by Dave Cross
    2. ISBN 1-930110-00-6 [1st edition 2001]
  • Mastering Perl/Tk
    1. by Steve Lidie and Nancy Walsh
    2. ISBN 978-1-56592-716-2 [1st edition January 2002]
  • Extending and Embedding Perl
    1. by Tim Jenness and Simon Cozens
    2. ISBN 1-930110-82-0 [1st edition August 2002]
  • Pro Perl Debugging
    1. by Richard Foley with Andy Lester
    2. ISBN 1-59059-454-1 [1st edition July 2005]

Free (as in beer) books

Some of these books are available as free downloads.

Higher-Order Perl:

Other interesting, non-Perl books

You might notice several familiar Perl concepts in this collection of ACM columns from Jon Bentley. The similarity to the title of the major Perl book (which came later) is not completely accidental:

  • Programming Pearls
    1. by Jon Bentley
    2. ISBN 978-0-201-65788-3 [2 edition, October 1999]
  • More Programming Pearls
    1. by Jon Bentley
    2. ISBN 0-201-11889-0 [January 1988]

A note on freshness

Each version of Perl comes with the documentation that was current at the time of release. This poses a problem for content such as book lists. There are probably very nice books published after this list was included in your Perl release, and you can check the latest released version at .

Some of the books we've listed appear almost ancient in internet scale, but we've included those books because they still describe the current way of doing things. Not everything in Perl changes every day. Many of the beginner-level books, too, go over basic features and techniques that are still valid today. In general though, we try to limit this list to books published in the past five years.

Get your book listed

If your Perl book isn't listed and you think it should be, let us know.