For those of us who are most concerned with content and cost on Web Pages, and don't have any kind of graphics background, Paint Shop Pro offers an inexpensive image manipulation package that is hard to beat. This book gives you a running head start on learning its capabilities.
Let's say you have already experimented with a few of the features in PSP, but don't really know what a lot of the filters, deformations, special tools and color adjustments can do for you. Shafran and Oliver show you through every feature, step by step, with "original" and "result" side by side for each process. Better yet, the CD provides the sample images they use for demonstration, so you can follow along, perform the same steps, and even experiment a little on your own as you go along. As one who "learns by doing", this was an invaluable part of this book's design from my perspective. I especially liked learning how to make a "seam-free" background tile "the hard way".
For those of us who really haven't begun to tap the resources on the web yet, the authors also discuss pre-existing graphics -- how to find them, and how to use them (and the legal ramifications thereof); newsgroup resources, websites with information, tutorials, plugins, and the like; and aspects such as dither-free color palettes and how to use them. There are plenty of "plug-n-play" graphics on the CD as well, in case you are lazy or in a big hurry. If you are neither, you can wax creative and come up with your own combinations and aberrations.
Of course there are bigger, fancier graphics packages and bigger, fancier books about them, but if you want to concentrate on "lite" Web Graphics ("look great, less load time") for your "poor man's web page", you can do much worse. The pros can have their "Adobe Mansions" -- I'll keep this book and PSP.