20 Best Electronic Music Books for Gifts & Stocking Fillers (definitive list)

Photo of a dark nightclub

Whether you’re looking for yourself or for someone else, this is our definitive list of the 20 best books about dance & electronic music—perfect for gifts and stocking fillers!

All the books have been hand-picked by our team here at The DJ Revolution.

If you don’t want to scan through, simply click on the table of contents to jump straight to that book…


1. Rave Art: Flyers, invitations and membership cards

Rave Art book cover (image - best electronic music books)

Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Summer of Love | Acid House | Photography Books

Year: 2018 (Hardcover released in 2021)

Author: Chelsea Louise Berlin

Overview:

If the idea of acid house and summer-of-love-era memorabilia sounds interesting, then look no further than the book Rave Art!

The book consists of rave flyers, VIP/ membership cards and other artefacts from iconic parties such as Sunrise, Genesis, Club Shoom and Energy – with four different chapters taking you through 1986/7, 1988, 1989 and 1990. As an alternative to actually reading something, and certainly for an old-school raver, this would make the perfect gift.


2. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life book cover (image)

Categories: DJ Culture | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | Rave Culture Books | Disco Books

Year: 2014 (updated version)

Authors:  Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton

Overview:

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is essentially an in-depth episodic breakdown of the history of the disc jockey and rave culture, with a deep dive into a long and diverse list of electronic music genres.

Whilst it’s a big book to tackle (about 600 pages), it’s well-written, and undoubtedly a collectable classic. The way it’s broken down, you could quite easily come back to it in different stages if you wanted to. It’s one of many successful releases from popular industry writers Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.


3. The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club

The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club (book cover image)

Categories: Hacienda | UK Rave Scene | UK Clubs | Acid House | Rave Culture Books

Year: 2014

Author: Peter Hook

Overview:

Loaded with crazy stories and with no shortage of profanity, the book offers a real-world account of the disastrous practices that ultimately brought down The Hacienda.

It’s a nice easy read this one, with a conversational tone. The audiobook version is good as well, as you get Peter Hook’s Salford accent for free!


4. Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and The Melbourne Underground

Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and The Melbourne Underground (book cover image)

Categories: Australian Rave Scene | Rave Culture Books | Melbourne Shuffle | Politics

Year: 2018

Author: Paul Fleckney

Overview:

You won’t find too many books that document Aussie rave culture – so this one is a bit of a unicorn! As it says on the tin, the book is focused on Australia’s main cultural hub when it comes to music – Melbourne.

Related: Check out this feature article we did on Australia’s Forgotten Rave Culture.


5. Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk

Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk (book cover image)

Categories: Techno Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | History of Techno

Year: 2010 (originally published in 1999)

Author: Dan Sicko

Overview:

The early forms of techno music emerged in the clubs of Detroit in the early 1980s, which is what the book focuses on. As well as the origins of techno, Techno Rebels also discusses its key influencers. For those with a passion for techno, the book is undoubtedly one the best to comprehensively break down the origins/history of the genre.


6. Class of ’88: Find the warehouse. Lose the hitmen. Pump the beats

Class of '88: Find the warehouse. Lose the hitmen. Pump the beats (book cover image)

Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Summer of Love | Acid House

Year: 2018

Author: Wayne Anthony

Overview:

Wayne Anthony was one of the UK’s most prolific illegal rave organisers, heading up the legendary Genesis parties. If you were around for the acid house explosion of the late 80s & early 90s, this one can’t be overlooked. It gives an excellent real-world account of how things played out.


7. House Music… The Real Story

House Music… The Real Story (book cover image)

Categories: House Music Books | Memoirs | Music autobiographies | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books

Year: 2020

Author: Jesse Saunders

Overview:

Influenced by legends such as the late Frankie Knuckles, Jesse is said by some to have created the first house record ever on vinyl. As well as discussing how he pioneered the genre, the book also gets into the celebrity culture of the 1980s and ‘90s. If you want to know about the history/origins of house music, there are certainly worst places to start!


8. Full On. Non-Stop. All Over

Full On. Non-Stop. All Over (book cover image)

Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Photography Books

Year: 2021

Author: Matthew Smith

Overview:

This photography book is perfect for anyone who was clubbing in the UK between 1999 and 2006 (born roughly between 1981 & 1987).

What makes the imagery (and this era) even more special is that it was right before the digital revolution took hold – so no camera phones, social media, selfies or other bullshit. As the only book of its kind that we know of, it had to get on a spot on the list!

Also check out this short news piece we did about the book when it came.


9. Carl Cox, Oh Yes Oh Yes!

Carl Cox, Oh Yes Oh Yes! (book cover image)

Categories: Memoirs | DJ Culture | Books About DJs

Year: 2021

Author: Carl Cox

Overview:

Without a doubt one of the best DJs that’s ever lived – the legend that is Carl Cox! Coxy takes the reader on a journey through his 30+ year career (and adult life), starting from his working-class upbringing on a council estate in South London.

While he does take a lot of credit for the evolution of the underground scene in the book, if you’re a Carl Cox fan, it’s certainly worth a read — and good inspiration for aspiring DJs!

Check out this news piece we did when it came out for more.


10. Hypnotised: A Journey Through Trance Music (1990-2005)

Hypnotised: A Journey Through Trance Music (book cover image)

Categories: Trance Music Books | Photography Books

Year: 2021

Author: Arjan Rietveld

Overview:

Surprisingly, there aren’t that many trance music books out there, so this one seems like a no-brainer addition to the list to cater for trance music fans.

For an additional charge, this trance encyclopaedia book can be accompanied by a 3LP compilation of Dutch trance music – which would make a fantastic gift.

Related from our blog:


11. The Disco Files 1973–78: New York’s Underground, Week by Week

13. The Disco Files 1973–78: New York's Underground, Week by Week (book cover image)

Categories: Disco Books | History of Disco | Photography Books | Electronic Music Books | Electronic Music History | Memoirs

Year: 2018

Author: Fran Lebowitz and Vince Aletti

Overview:

This book is the definitive and essential chronicle of disco, true from-the-trenches reporting that details, week by week, the evolution of the clubs, the DJs, and the music.

It also documents all the ‘essential’ disco singles, records (EPs) and albums by year, which is a really nice addition to what’s undoubtedly one of the best books documenting the disco era.


 12. Porcelain: A Memoir

Porcelain: A Memoir (book cover image)

Categories: Memoirs | DJ Culture | Artist/music autobiographies | Books About DJs

Year: 2016

Author: Moby

Overview:

In the book, Moby talks candidly about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, his Christian faith, self-image and more. The memoir follows his story from living in an abandoned factory in Connecticut to playing the hottest clubs in New York and Europe. As well as Moby fans, the book might also appeal to aspiring music producers.


13. Electrochoc

Electrochoc, Laurent Garnier (book cover image)

Categories: Memoirs | Acid House | Hacienda | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene | DJ Culture | Books About DJs

Year: 2015

Author: Laurent Garnier

Overview:

From the legendary French DJ/producer, Laurent Garnier…

After moving to Manchester in 1986 (good timing for the acid house explosion), Laurent started DJing at iconic venues such as the Hacienda — and the rest is history, as they say.

His book is as much of an insight into the scene during the acid house era as it is a ‘memoir’, so you don’t necessarily have to be a massive Garnier fan to enjoy it.


14. The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America

The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America (book cover image)

Categories: EDM Books| U.S. Rave Scene | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books

Year: 2015

Author: Michaelangelo Matos

Overview:

Surely one of the best and most thorough books for documenting the evolution of dance music in America, from its birth, right through to modern ‘EDM’. The book utilizes hundreds of interviews together with a library of rave-related artefacts.


15. Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches

Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches (book cover image)

Categories: UK clubs | Scotland | UK Rave Scene

Year: 2021

Authors: Kirstin Innes and David Bratchpiece

Overview:

This one might be appreciated more if you’ve been to The Arches or if you’re interested in UK club history… and perhaps more specifically Scotland’s. It’s written by a former employee of the iconic Glaswegian club, David Bratchpiece.


16. Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music

Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music (book cover image)

Categories: Politics | EDM Books | Electronic Music Books | Electronic Music History | Rave Culture Books

Year: 2018

Author: Matthew Collin

Overview:

In a nutshell, Rave On captures the cultural differences between various dance scenes’ around the world – in places such as South Africa, Georgia and beyond. It gets to the heart of what dance music culture is really about: people of all backgrounds coming together and having a good time.

If you’re interested in the history/evolution of electronic dance music from a more global perspective this should definitely be part of your reading list.


17. State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass

State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass (book cover image)

Categories: Drum & Bass Books | Bass Music Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene

Year: 2020 (originally from 1997)

Author: Martin James

Overview:

If you’re looking for a book on the history of Jungle/Drum & Bass and the evolution of the genre, then look no further!


18. Adventures In Wonderland: Acid house, rave and the UK club explosion

Adventures In Wonderland: Acid house, rave and the UK club explosion (book cover image)

Categories: Acid House | Rave Culture Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene

Year: 2020

Author: Sheryl Garratt

Overview:

Definitely one of the better, more comprehensive books on rave culture and the acid house era. It also discusses dance music’s emergence from the U.S. and its influence coming from Ibiza.


19. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture

Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture (best disco books - book cover image)

Categories: Disco Books | Electronic Music History | History of Disco | Photography Books | Politics

Year: 2011

Author: Alice Echols

Overview:

Compared to other disco books out there, this one talks more about its origins and cultural influences. We’ve picked it for good reason!


20. Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester, and More: A Memoir

Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester, and More: A Memoir (book cover image)

Categories: Memoirs | Hacienda | Books About DJs

Year: 2019

Author: Dave Haslam

Overview:

Also an author & journalist, Dave is of course best known for his time as a DJ at the Hacienda, where he ran his own club night called Temperance in the late 80s and made over 450 appearances. The book is essentially an intimate account of Dave’s life growing up through the 80s & 90s in Manchester.


Affiliate Disclosure: To help fund the website, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase we’ll make a small commission from it. This NEVER costs you any extra as a result!

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