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When reviewing any book about the web, one must first ask the question foremost in every book buyer's mind. "The web changes so fast, is the book dated before it's even printed?" Unfortunately, Web Word Wizardry is dated. Of the ten example sites tested, 50% had changed significantly. Only one changed for the better. Two got worse and two disappeared altogether. Before writing off McAlpine's hard work as being for naught, one might well ask if Web Word Wizardry transcends being dated. The good news is that it does. What makes Word Web Wizardry stand the test of time is that the sample URLs are less critical than the explanations of their good and bad points.
With a scope as large as writing for the web, it is imperative that there be coverage of all key areas. For the most part, there is. Web Word Wizardry has good sections on ezines and writing for the global audience. There is a very good introduction to writing meta tags and search engine optimization. One caveat, the coverage of writing for intranets is a bit slim and distracts from the focus of the book.
McAlpine excels in communicating. The book is a pleasure to read and interesting enough to keep even a very tired reviewer awake. Web Word Wizardry has just a light touch of humor with a flavor of the author's native New Zealand to keep the American reader on his or her toes. As an even more pleasant surprise, McAlpine knows her stuff. Even the expert can learn something new.
Finally, some web books are only for technical people, others only for writers. Web Word Wizardry has appeal across boundaries to anyone who writes, not just writes professionally, for the web. It is a book that newbie and expert alike will turn to again and again.
M. E. Tyler's work has appeared in national magazines and high-profile web sites. A former software developer, Tyler has an eclectic technical background, programming for both the Mac and Windows and working as a Web site developer. Tyler was the ebook review editor for ForeWord Magazine and the editor-in-chief for ForeWord Reviews, and is the regular book review columnist for Writer's Exchange and for eBook Web. Tyler owns Private Ice Publications, a niche publishing house dedicated to publishing the best sports fiction for women.