It’s that time of year again—holiday music on the radio, piped into stores. Decorations lining the shelves, and gift items flashed before you almost everywhere you look.

One of the things I love about this time of the year is the Best Lists–best books of 2009, best music, gift ideas, places to travel, places to eat, etc.

I’ve read a long list of wonderful books about social media, marketing, and all the advances in technology in 2009–and written a number of posts about them. As the year is rolling towards 2010 and into a new decade the pile of books waiting to be read has grown exponentially.

This week I’ve had the pleasure to read Eric Groves new book The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing. Eric is the Senior Vice President, Global Market Development at Constant Contact and writes with great knowledge and authority on the topic.

I was interested in the book for two main reasons:

1) With all the hubbub about Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc., Email Marketing has been losing the ranking it deserves. At times its become the forgotten stepchild of business marketing.

2) At Weber Media Partners we use Constant Contact for creating and sending our email newsletters, and I’ve always been impressed with the ease of use, tracking and built-in analytics, user-friendly website with answers to many of my questions, and a responsive customer service team.

If you aren’t using email newsletters for your business, Eric Groves book will convince you about the value they can add in communicating with your clients and prospects. He describes how email newsletters are permission marketing at its finest. You’ll learn about newsletter content, look and feel, open rates, bounces, linking, subject lines, optimal length, frequency of campaigns, and how to be planning ahead.

I’ve picked-up many great insights from the book, ones which I can immediately put to use for the development of our next email newsletters. And, as a result of reading the book I’ve already started to practice one of Eric’s suggestions—I’m noticing which email newsletters subject lines grab me and compel me to open them, ones who feel like spam, ones I want to stay subscribed to, and newsletters which make me look for the unsubscribe option right away.

I have many more books to read about social media marketing before the end of 2009, and I’ll likely have more suggestions before the end of the year.  We’re always looking for suggestions so tell us what marketing books you’ve been reading and recommend.