A survey of books about electronic mail (e-mail)

For people interested in electronic mail, here is a booklist in the area of electronic mail (e-mail) also known as message handling systems.

Originally written: 28 June 1999
Minor revision 28 Nov 2015
by Jacob Palme e-mail: jpalme@dsv.su.se.

Warning 1: I am the author of one of the books. I have tried to be impartial, but you should be aware of the risk of partiality when I review my own book.

Warning 2: This list was originally made in 1995, and has not been updated with books published after this time.

General overview books

Title: The e-mail frontier, emerging markets and evolving technologies
Size:475 pages
Author: Daniel J. Blum & David M. Litwack
Publisher: Addison-Wesley 1994
Comment: A general overview about e-mail, with particular emphasis on the commercial market and products on the commercial market. Standards (both Internet and X.400) are also well covered. More info about this book.

Title: Electronic mail
Author: Jacob Palme
Size: 267 pages
Publisher: Artech House Publishers 1995
Comment: A general overview which covers social effects, cost-benefit issues, legal and ethical issues, technical issues and standards (both Internet and X.400). More info about this book.

A comparison of the two overview books above: Palme gives better coverage of social effects, cost-benefit, wide-area network issues, distribution lists and group communication than Blum-Litwack, while Blum-Litwack gives better coverage of services and products on the commercial market and of local area network issues.

Palme's book have many pages describing the X.400 e-mail standard, which never suceeded. Today (2015), only the Internet e-mail standards are broadly used.

Title: E-mail: Achieving local and global communications
Size: 155 pages
Publisher: Computer Technology Research Corp. 1995
Comment: I have not read this book, but from the promotional material it seems to be a shorter and more popular book than the two books reviewed above, and more directed at the information needs of company executives.

Books about particular standards

Title: The internet message: closing the book with electronic mail
Author: Marshall T. Rose
Publisher: Prentice-Hall 1993
Comment: An excellent and comprehensive overview of the Internet e-mail standards.

Title: Introduction to X.400
Author: Cemil Betanov
Size: 371 pages. Publisher: Artech House Publishers 1992
Comment: A very complete and readable presentation for those who really wants to learn all about the X.400 standard. More info about this book.

Title: Electronic Mail: An introduction to the X.400 Message HandlingStandards
Author: Sara Radicati
Publisher: McGraw-Hill 1992

Title: X.400 Message Handling, Standards, Interworking, Applications
Authors: Lanz, Mueller, Walter
Publisher: Addison-Wesley 1995

Title: The X.400 Blue Book Companion
Author: Carl-Uno Manros
Size: 116 pages
Publisher: Technology Appraisals Ltd, Great Britain, 1989
Phone +44-181-893 3986, Fax +44-181-744 1149
(Only available directly from the publisher)
Comment: Aid for those who know the 1984 version of X.400 and wants to read and understand the 1988 version.

Title: The X.400 Blue Book ASN.1 Modules and Index, 2nd Edition
Author: Carl-Uno Manros
Size: 241 pages
Publisher: Technology Appraisals Ltd, Great Britain, 1991
Tel +44-181-893 3986, Fax +44-181-744 1149
(Only available directly from the publisher)
Comment: Full index and full ASN.1 specifications of 1988 version of X.400, important for implemenetors and others who really want to know all about X.400.

Title: PGP: Pretty Good Privacy
Author: Simson Garfinkel
Size: 393 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates
Comment: According to Michael J. Taylor, Lotus, this is an excellent book for both novices and experts. Part I explains cryptography and some history, Part II provides the how-to details of using PGP.

Books primarily about social effects of e-mail

Title: The Network Nation
Author: Starr Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff
Publisher: (1) Addison-Wesley 1978 (2) MIT Press 1993
Comment: An outstanding early work, predicting much of what would later happen on the market. More info about this book.

Title: Connections: New ways of working in the networked organization
Author: Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler
Publisher: MIT Press 1991
Comments: A stimulating in-depth presentation of the effects on organizations of using e-mail. Another review of this book.

Style and ethical aspects

Title: The elements of e-mail style
Author: David Angell and Brent Heslop
Publisher: Addison-Wesley 1994
Comment: A good guide on how to use e-mail correctly and effectively. More info about this book.

Title: The smiley dictionary
Author: Seth Godin
Publisher: Peachpit Press 1993
Comment: About smileys, character combinations to forward emotional information, e.g. ":-)".

Title: Smileys
Author: David W. Sanderson
Publisher: O'Reilly and Associates 1993
Comment: Another book about smileys. More info about this book.