When I got my recruit a friend account it came with two lovely, full-color Bradygames guide books. Each is a 24.99 16.49 value with the Battle Chest purchase. The books have descriptions of all the races and classes. They go into some detail about the zones and many of the monsters in WoW. The guides contain tips on game play and various mechanics. I found them to be completely useless. They're outdated. They guides don't really give any tips on the nuances of the game. At times they are wildly inaccurate.
Granted, they may be helpful to brand new players, though not entirely more useful than small, black and white Game Manual that also comes in the box. As a rookie I never turned toward printed guides. I asked a lot of questions from resources like Thottbot, Petopia, and of course WoW Insider. Most of what I've learned, I've learned on the fly. The beautiful, colorful images must cost a small fortune to print. It all seems very excessive to me.