I’ve been asked for a recommendation on a few books recently, and decided it was high time I actually wrote a post on the subject.

It should be made clear that this is not in any way a comprehensive list of every book you should buy, and that I have not read every book on the subject (or, frankly, even a tenth of them).


I’ve linked mostly to Amazon or AbeBooks as the links are unlikely to change, but many of these books can be found second hand on eBay or Amazon marketplace for a lower price than the new copies. I’ve had some really interesting used books – I bought a job lot of books from eBay once to find out they comprised part of the collection of a well known gemologist and had been signed by prominent authors and gemologists from around the world.

Used bookshops are also a goldmine for geological textbooks – while they may be outdated, much of the information is just as relevant.


While this is a post about books, it would be, frankly, irresponsible for me to not also list some excellent online resources which are available free of charge.

I have listed prices for some of the books I considered to be especially cheap, but they may be long out of date by the time you read this. They were correct as of 09/02/2023.

Hunting and collecting within the UK

Collecting minerals and fossils etc yourself – physically visiting locations. Some people have the good fortune to be right next to interesting sites – some of us live in Leicester! 🙂


Online resources for UK fossil collectors:


Most popular and well known fossil hunting sites actually have facebook groups dedicated to them – and some of the members are amongst the most knowledgable people I know, they are a very valuable resource in identifying an unknown specimen from an area. Off the top of my head (there are almost certainly more!)



Online resources for UK mineral collectors:


Books for UK collectors:

  • Natural History Museum British Fossils Series (3 books)  – a fantastic set of books on British fossils
  • Geological Map of the British Islands – alright, not a book, but shhhh. Really helps you to understand the layers of bedrock. However – this map is a reprint of a 1969 map, so there may be certain inaccuracies to cities, roads, county lines, etc. It is also a very small scale map showing the entire country, so regional and local geology wise it may not be of much use.
  • BGS Maps – again, not a book – but geological maps of various scales from 1:10000 to 1:250000, covering most of Britain. Many of these maps can be viewed online via the BGS.

Books on fossils

Books on gemmology

Books on Geology

  • Geology for Dummies, 2nd Edition – I really like the ‘for Dummies’ guides. They’re not the most advanced, but they’re cheap new, and you’ve got a pretty good chance of finding a cheap used copy, and they’re available in most bookstores.
  • Geology of Britain – an introduction – now… I actually really liked this book, but I disagree with the title. While the concepts are not the most advanced, a beginners knowledge of geology at a minimum is needed to really follow the book.


Books on minerals and rocks

Books on meteorites

  • Meteorites – the Natural History Museum – a hair over a fiver second hand. A little outdated now, as new discoveries have been made since the books release, but very easy to read. Excellent for beginners.

Online resources

  • mindat.org – probably the most indepth mineralogical reference to have ever existed, listing nearly 400,000 localities, nearly 6000 mineral species and with well over a million photographs.
  • gemdat.org – an online database of gemmological information. Same owner as mindat I believe, just focussed on gemstones.
  • geology.com – hundreds, if not thousands of maps, articles, and records on various geology subjects.