I spent some time in a Barnes & Noble cafe today and I decided to go with "Windows 8 Bible" and "Windows 8 In Depth"; both are available via Nook. The price on one of the books was $49.99 in the store, but via Nook none are more than $25, either in paperback or electronic form. No matter, I've decided to avoid paper. It's easier and easier to do now since both Amazon and Nook have eReaders available (I have a Nook) and there are software versions that run on nearly any hardware a person might have laying around.
So maybe someday I can get rid of all my old paper books and install a pitching machine in my living room instead!
"Windows 8 Secrets" looked good too, but for the same price, it seemed to contain a lot less information, and the prose in several passages was somewhat too "rah-rah Miccrosoft" for my liking. What I'm looking for in these types of reference guides is the straight p00p, and that means good or bad, along with solutions and options for getting around the bad. That's why I liked the "Windows Annoyances" series of books so very much! When an author and his/her editor have some reservations about the subject they are teaching about (be it an OS, a camera, a tablet, a car, or just about anything), this is when I think the content stands up the best over time. I'm not accusing Thurrott of being a shill or anything, but I did have to make a decision based on about 30 minutes with the book in hand; about the same amount of time for each of the other books.
If I feel the need for additional materials, I'll go with the text/study guide suggested by Ryu (assuming that it's released in sync with my needs/decision). Although some may disagree, I think another perfectly valid option for me would be the "Windows 8 For Dummies 10 in 1" book, because in several areas Leonhard gives you both sides of the story; he's not all "Pro Microsoft," and for me this makes up for the somewhat more "light" subject matter of this book. When touchy subjects are at least broached, the reader gets a starting point for further education. As a moderate-power-user, I find value in any book that brings up the concepts that Microsoft would rather gloss over. With a concept in hand, I am more aware and I can decide whether or not to go learn more on my own.
One other thing I've noted. None of my book choices seems to give very much comprehensive information on how I can reduce Microsoft's intrusion into my life and my business. Windows 8 is very much more of a tattletale than any previous version of Windows, and I think it's time I got a lot more serious about my personal privacy. That means gaining a better understanding of and possibly reducing my "minable profile" on Yahoo, Gmail, Apple, and Microsoft services. "10-in-1" does touch on this a little bit in the section that discusses the Windows 8 "Live Account" setup in light of personal privacy, and the book does compare/contrast the pros and cons of some settings to prevent Windows 8 from calling the mothership to tell about everything I'm doing. But even so, this subject is not treated in any of these books with the completeness that I want to see. A subject for further study, to be sure.
Ryu, thanks for the suggestions. Your helpfulness is always appreciated!