The web is now been around in its commercial form for about ten years. What I mean by commercial is eBay, Amazon and the like. With it I also acknowledge the many lay persons of the web have increased exponentially in that amount of time, who of course buy all that stuff (ergo commerce!). Previously the web consisted mostly of a group of people who are more 'underground' by todays standards. This includes those wild figures such as news group posters, researchers, software pirates, tech geeks, etc. etc. I picked up a book at work called "Spam Kings". It was published by O'Reilly which I happen to work for (thanks for the freebies, heres some publicity ;).
I've read the first 50 pages, and so far its an entertaining story. The book follows a host of characters in a 3rd person narration. The writing is not tough to follow, it almost feels like I am reading an article from a magazine such as Time or News Week. Maybe a newspaper even. Nothing written so far has been what I would consider too terse for a reader who is unfamiliar with the concepts of the book. Layman's terms are used to explain the various concepts to the reader; while I've found myself (a reader experienced in the books domains) not bored to death. Thats a feat in itself.
I would recommend this book to any person interested in the political and social underground of the web. While reading my interest holds steady in part due to the activities of each individual which seem to shape and influence the landscape of the web. The book was published back in 2004. I'm guessing you could find a copy on the chep at a used bookstore. It should make for an interesting, quick read.