There are still a good many writers out there who refuse to use a word processor, never mind the Internet, but there's little doubt that the number of these reactionaries is steadily diminishing, for the value of the Internet for most classes of writers is simply too self-evident to be denied. At the same time, actually starting to use the medium can be a daunting task for newcomers. There is thus a ready market for books like this, which set out to explain the basics in non-technical language from the viewpoint of a professional writer. There are of course numerous books about using the Internet but writers have particular needs and interests and it is these that the book is primarily intended to address. Moreover, the emphasis is on writers in Britain, which is welcome given the overwhelmingly American character of much of the material that one encounters on-line.
The book starts with the basics (choosing an ISP, using email and newsgroups, finding websites, and so on). Many writers will want to set up their own web sites and there is a chapter on how to do this. Throughout the book Daws uses plenty of examples, showing exactly what appears on the screen when you log on to a site. The difference between an internet search engine and an internet directory is explained clearly, which should help the newcomer to find things more easily.
As will probably be evident from what I've said so far, the book is aimed mainly at those just starting out or trying to screw up their courage to do so, but even the more experienced Internet user will probably find something of value. There are plenty of websites that look worth visiting and quite a few of these I hadn't heard of before; this in itself would make the book worth possessing. Of course, a printed book about the rapidly-changing Internet is bound to be slightly out of date by the time it appears. In general this one is commendably up to date, although the author seems to have been caught slightly on the hop by the great increase in free ISPs (only Freeserve gets a glancing mention).
The subjects covered include how to check your your grammar or consult a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopaedia on-line, how to market your work, and how to access libraries and other data bases. There is advice about legal matters and copyright, including a useful copyright notice that you can insert into your web pages. At the end of the book there is a good selection of reference material, though this duplicates to some extent information that has already appeared earlier. The book is well written and well produced, and any writer who uses the Internet or is thinking of doing so will find it useful.