After about an hour of fumbling helplessly through the shelves of Barnes & Noble, I picked out Web Design for Dummies by Lisa Lopuck. The book is divided into sections that are meant to follow the basic workflow of building a website. From there, the sections are divided into chapters based on specific subjects. This format helps because the book builds on itself but remains extremely easy to navigate. If you need to re-read something, you know exactly where to find it.
As far as content goes, I don't claim to have any expertise in Web Design (I mean, look at the book I chose), but I didn't see anything that I could identify as false on the technical end of the book. Moreover, the sections that dealt with design elements (which I do know something about) were very nicely articulated and supported with appropriate images, graphs, etc. When I first started reading, I was a little afraid that it would be all theoretical information and no tech stuff, but I was pleased to find that the book contained a good mix of both disciplines.
The author's stated audience is people who have little or no experience in the area of Web Design, and are looking to become professional web designers. I thought this was pretty specific for a Dummies book, but I don't think that anything was lost in the assumption of a certain readership. I can't argue, either, that the book is definitely geared toward beginners.
Aside from the sometimes disconcerting references to the web design company that the reader is supposedly starting, I found Web Design for Dummies extremely helpful. My plan, in approaching Web Design, was to find a book that would lay out a wide scope of the field, and give me an idea of where I want/need to go deeper and learn more. I think that Web Design for Dummies has done a good job of accomplishing the first step in this plan. It is not by any means comprehensive, but it does give a beginner the lay of the land, and that is definitely important.