Usborne collection of 1980’s computer books!


Back in the 1980’s home computers were a new and exciting thing, and with these machines came very technical manuals.  But us young children wanted to program, and thankfully companies like Usborne filled the gap by providing programming books geared towards kids!  It was a golden age as every machine had a basic interpreter.  Then for some reason software companies (Microsoft/IBM) didn’t think it was a good thing anymore bundling in languages with their OS’s, or worse thinking that development tools should be a source of revenue and pricing amateurs out of the market (seriously SCO, $5000 for a C compiler?)  But now thanks to the common carrier network we all have (the internet) the rise of open and free software hackers have taken things into their hands, and we are back to empowering users.

So I thought it was interesting that Usborne opened up a bunch of it’s older books.  All available in PDF, free for personal use.

First computer library

Introductions to programming


Adventure games

You can see their page with full details here.


2 thoughts on “Usborne collection of 1980’s computer books!

  1. Nice! They don’t have the one book that I had (and still have), “Experiments with Your Computer”, though. That was a disappointment at the time because our family had a PC and most of it was, as the page says, “written for 1980s computers such as the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro”, particularly the bits about attaching sensors to the machine I think!

  2. “Experiments with Your Computer”, I tool remember that one; it had things like driving a motor of the C64 User-Port! As a 7 year old, I had a blast reading through these books and inputting the listings (and working out why they didn’t work).

    I do wonder how I can inspire my own children to take a look at programming. The field is certainly much more complicated now and there’s no “instant on” programming environments like the days of ubiquitous BASIC interpreters. Maybe the current set of Usborne books 🙂

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