The BSA Handbook goes digital


Last week we told you about the new Boy Scout Handbook, available now online or at your local Scout Shop.

We detailed the new book’s firm embrace of the Internet to
provide Scouts with extra resources and interactivity beyond what’s in the
480-page book. Well, now those digital resources are live and available at, the official Web site
of the Boy Scout Handbook.

This eye-catching, all-new site carries the design elements
from the book into a highly interactive Web page. You’ll find the site is
organized into three sections, just like the book: Scoutcraft, Woodcraft, and

But the site is more than just a carbon copy from the book
to the computer screen.

Let’s look at some examples. First, turn to the poisonous
plants section of your new Scout handbook, Page 138. There you’ll see two short
paragraphs and four photos of poisonous plants. On the Web site, however,
you’ll get that information plus
links to the Food and Drug Administration’s tips for treatment and the CDC’s
maps of where poisonous plants are found.

Or take the important subject of tying knots. The colorful,
easy-to-understand illustrations in the handbook are great for learning to tie
the bowline (Page 388) while at camp. But if you want to practice the tricky
knot in the comfort of your home,
links to a site where knots tie themselves before your eyes.

OK, so your Scouts will want their physical handbook
available when they’re away from the computer—which, we hope, is a lot of the
time. But for comprehensive information about Scouting and outdoor skills while
at home, should be
their first and only online stop.


  1. Bryan, I know that this is an old article, but do you know of any plans for an ebook/pdf/Kindle version of the BSA handbook on the horizon? For us leaders it would be great to be able to consolidate all of our literature onto a tablet or other mobile device.

  2. My son is new to Scouts (and did not participate in cub scouts) so we are figuring things out just now… I’m curious, and admittedly disappointed for my son, that it appears there is not an ebook of the current handbook..(??). My son has some visual challenges and per his optometrist’s orders – he does his reading on a Kindle (where he can greatly increase the line spacing which aids in comprehension, retention & enjoyment). He’s struggling to read and getting down on himself… I’m curious if you might be able to tell me if BSA plan to have ebooks in the future… Thanks so much. (It’s great that they have this online version with links… but we are really hoping for just straight reading =) I do realize this is an older post… but I haven’t found much else on the subject in my early stages of looking into this.

  3. I’m very disappointed just like the others who have posted here. And the BSA doesn’t even take the time to clearly tell you on that they decided to PULL the PDF version of the handbook and no longer make it available.

    I’m guessing they did they because they realized they would be loosing too much money by making it available in PDF format. Very very disappointing for a newly called leader.

    However, you can get the PDF version (12th edition) at this link:

    Better get it fast since I’m sure that the BSA will be sending a cease and desist or taking some other action to have this resource removed from the internet. It looks like a local scout troup has created that site and inadvertently it got indexed by google so I was able to find it.

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