As an avid reader of the online webzine, Smashing Magazine, I wanted to support their cause as I found the information they provided to have always been useful. So as early as I heard that they were having a book to be release last year, I pre-ordered mine in August.
Unfortunately, with delays upon delays, I did not receive the book until a week before Christmas of 2009. A total of 3 month delay. By the time the book arrived, there was definitely excitement to rip the book open to read. However, the production of the book was not great.
The binding is poorly constructed, the book dimensions were small and the text and readability was difficult. Other reviewers said that the book fell apart upon arrival so I read mines real carefully.
You would think as a magazine focused on design, they'd have some sort of standard or QA to make sure the book came out okay in publication. Not the case.
As for the content, its all quality stuff. Great tips, great articles and everything you'd want in a book focused on web design. It doesn't go in depth on any particular technologies or offer any skill building techniques but this isn't a manual.
This book is a great reference to open your ideas. It covers many subjects from considerations in design layout, usage of color, typography, and website optimization for performance and content building. Most articles may have been covered online already but I like the whole collective in a book.
Based on content subject matter, it does its job giving out great tips and references. Based on build quality, it is below average. I give it a 3 star rating overall.
If the book was made larger with better readability as well as color samples, perhaps hardcover, then it would definitely have a higher rating. Here's to hoping another book will be published with much more detailed information!