Hum, for some reason I would like to buy myself a book about typography. I have a lot of interest in this field, and already have some knowledge learnt from reading Typophile now and then, among other online sources. I would like to consolidate my knowledge with a book about typography, possibly a mix of theoretical considerations and examples (I quite like the balance achieved, for example, in the Tufte books).
If you're going to get one book on typography, I would grab The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. It's self–demonstrating and is filled with tons of useful and intriguing examples, as well as an informative, but brief history of type. It's a great introduction that will continue to prove helpful far into the future.
The Form of the Book by Jan Tschichold. He dedicated a tremendous amount of time to researching the minutiae of classical typography. In his very German way, this collection of articles distills all that work down to digestible chunks of info. Judging by Amazon's price, I'm not the only one who loves this book! See if you can find it elsewhere for cheap. I think I paid about $25 years ago.
The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web is another great resource. I haven't seen much develop there in a long time but what the author completed is very good.
The book that changed the way I see typography was Just My Type by Simon Garfield. It's not exactly technical, it's more of a book of stories about fonts, but it's done and narrated beautifully. I would definitely recommend it!
Just My Type examines how Helvetica and Comic Sans took over the world. It explains why we are still influenced by type choices made more than 500 years ago, and why the T in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters. It profiles the great originators of type, from Baskerville to Zapf, as well as people like Neville Brody who threw out the rulebook. The book is about that pivotal moment when fonts left the world of Letraset and were loaded onto computers, and typefaces became something we realized we all have an opinion about. And beyond all this, the book reveals what may be the very best and worst fonts in the world – and what your choice of font says about you.
"Stop Stealing Sheep" is a typical Type 101 required reading:
It is different from Bringhurst or Tschichold as it contains much more about expression but still contains lots of information about the smaller details in type.
A wonderful old book, well-worth keeping an eye out for is Better Type: Learn to see subtle distinctions in the faces and the spaces of text type. Achieve legible, beautiful, and expressive type every time. by Betty Binn.