Depending on what you are trying to do with Web services, the books you want to look at would be different. Fundamentally, there are two different ways to use Web services. The first way is to use Web services as a replacement for traditional "remoting" or distributed system technologies such as DCOM, CORBA, or RMI. Web services, for this goal, have a lot of advantages, such as better tools and broader interoperability. If you are approaching Web services from this perspective, don't worry too much about the protocols and underlying technology of Web services -- look at Web services from the perspective of the tools you will use to build them (whether Eclipse, Visual Studio, or other tools). Depending on what platform you want to work on, the set of books differ.
The other main way to use Web services is to look at them as an enabler for a service oriented architecture (SOA) strategy. SOAs, through the reuse, consolidation, and elimination of redundancy that they provide have tremendous business value. Unfortunately, when looking at moving to an SOA, no step-by-step book will be appropriate because every organization is unique. There are a number of books that address the shift to SOA, such as Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures: The Savvy Manager's Guide.
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