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re: The Essential Blender (2007)


An interesting story by Roland Hess about the sales of his book 'Essential Blender'. His advice: 'Don't buy it!'.

Roland writes:

I saw today that The Essential Blender, the Foundation’s official getting started book that I was fortunate enough to spearhead and edit a long time ago, is still selling on Amazon. In fact, it was #38 in the 3D Graphics category. I also noticed several reviews from the past year in which the people who got the book just trashed it and Blender.

Now, I’m a free market person. I believe that consumers should take responsibility for their purchases. How anyone could go on Amazon, with its copious publication information, recommendation system and reviews, and buy The Essential Blendertoday is completely beyond me. It was published almost five years ago, which is an eternity in the world of software. Recent reviews indicate clearly that the book is out of date. And yet, people continue to buy it.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


    • I think this is not true anymore..2011 saw a lot of new blender books, not to speak about the countless video-tuts & DVD-Courses available today

  1. I bought the book when it was relevant to the version at that time. The approach (theory and practice) was very educating and a update could be interesting now that Blender is in a "stable" (relatively speaking) development stage for new books. 

  2. I bought the book when it came out and it was great
    sure the software has changed dramatically now but duh
    the date on the book and that it is for software its like buying an office 2007 book
    if anyone buys this book now then they deserve to be disappointed

    I would buy a book for 2.61 if it came out right now

    I wish I could get a book for blender that was from beginner to advanced
    showing all if not almost all of the features and how to use them
    I'd like to have a dvd set of the same book that had video tutorials of most of the features
    and electronic version of the book

    I know there is stuff out there now but they are broken down to only parts of blender

  3. This is why all books and DVDs need to have the version number in the title or clearly displayed on the cover but like John Grigni said still some useful info if you have a bit of knowledge and can apply it to the new blender.


  4. Does everyone realize that Roland has a couple of Blender books out there for 2.6?  Blender Foundations is a great guide to learning it!  I only mention this reading some of the comments...there are other books for 2.6 available as well!

  5. I have this book, I bought it a few years ago.  It was a little out of date then, but it was still helpful.  Almost all of my blender books are out of date (I have 2 books that were written for 2.5 & 2.6).  I am going to have to rebuild my blender library.  By the time I have that accomplished Blender will have changed again.

  6. The ironic thing is, it's the first general Blender book you see for sale in's book category. I wonder how many people looked in there to see what was "the best" Blender book and then just tried to find it cheaper on Amazon.

  7. I got this book 3 years ago from I don't think it is completely out of date or anything the basics are still the same except that the UI has changed but that does not take away from it. it is still helpfull.

    atleast that's my personal opinion.

  8. We can learn an important lesson from this: always add the blender version in your title. Other books often mention the version no: "CorelDraw 3 made easy", "How to cheat in Photoshop CS3", "3ds max 5 for dummies" etc.

  9. Jonatan -- with Blender doing a release every 3 months, publishers are going to be very leery of putting a number in the title. Saying it's for Blender 2.62 can lose you a lot of sales when the release level is at 2.64, even though 99% of the book would still be perfectly compatible.

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

      It’s quite clear the alternative is a horde of angry customers, so I would say that, leery or not, the publishers are going to have to do it.

  10. I really liked that book, and it was laid out very clearly and well.  I agree that it's out of date and needs an update.  Even though there are several books out there that have current(ish) information, this book was very good at walking you all the way through the modeling/texturing/animation/compositing process and really fills in major blanks for people.  An update to the book would be the perfect thing.  To be fair though, it also includes a version of blender that DOES work with the book, so it can make sense.

  11. I am glad to see the author of the book take this stand.

    Blender is moving very fast and books that old have no relevance to Blender today.

    I have the old book, as I have every other Blender book on my bookshelf. It is now very out of date.

  12. I bought it even though it was out of date because at the time there were no resources for the 2.5x version of Blender, and even so, the basics of working in blender haven't changed that drastically between the two versions. But it's still a good resource all the same. Just don't rely on it as your only Blender resource. 

  13. I bought it, but at the time, 2.49 was the stable version even though 2.53 was out.  Took a bit for Blender Artists to convince me to switch.  I hated the black and white pictures in the book, made it hard to see what was going on - so if Mr. Hess does an update - color photos!  Otherwise, very useful in getting my feet wet.  Still have it in my library.

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