The Long Dark Wiki

The research interface

A research book or skill book is an item in Survival mode that can be researched to increase a Survival Skill.


Research books may be used as fuel for starting fires and have the same weight (0.5kg) as normal books. However, they may also be read, which grants skill points to their respective Survival skills when completed. Multiple copies of the same book may be researched for additional benefit.

  • Research books are scattered throughout all regions similar to normal books, but are rarer and have unique covers.
  • Books cannot be read in the dark or if the player has 0% fatigue, calories, thirst or has any negative affliction. Reaching 0% in any of these needs while researching will immediately end the research session and negate any progress for that research attempt. (i.e., if you complete 59 out of 60 in-game minutes of a 1-hour research session, and your character begins starving before completing the last minute of research, the character immediately forgets everything they researched in those prior 59 minutes.

List of research books[]

Image Title Skill Points



to research

Archery skill book icon.png Stay on Target Archery 10


Carcass harvesting skill book icon.png Field Dressing Your Kill, Vol. 1 Carcass Harvesting 10 10
Cooking skill book icon.png Wilderness Kitchen Cooking 10 5
Fire starting skill book icon.png Survive the Outdoors! Fire Starting 10 5
Ice fishing skill book icon.png The Frozen Angler Ice Fishing 10 5
Mending skill book icon.png Sewing Primer Mending 10 5
Firearm skill book icon.png Frontier Shooting Guide Rifle Firearm 5 4
Firearm skill book icon2.png Advanced Guns Guns Guns! Rifle Firearm 10 25
Revolver skill book icon.png Small Arms Handbook Revolver Firearm 10 5
Gunsmithing skill book icon.png Practical Gunsmithing Gunsmithing 10 5


Spoiler Warning: This page may contain spoilers from the story of The Long Dark.

Plants skill book icon.png

In story mode, items may be found which resemble research books, but unlike research books these items are instantly consumed when picked up and unlock the side missions The Basics of Survival and Survival School. They will appear at the same locations in all playthroughs.

Game history[]


  • Survival Skills levels are dependent to each save file.
  • All varieties of books and research books may spawn regardless of Survival Mode (or loot settings, in Custom); this includes firearm-related books on Interloper difficulty.
  • The achievement "Penitent Scholar" requires reading all varieties of Research Books in a single save file.
  • The feat "Book Smarts" increases the skill points gained from completing a research book by 10% (e.g. with the feat active, reading a "Small Arms Handbook" yields 11 revolver skill points instead of 10). Like all feats, "Book Smarts" tracks it's progress across all save files (except Custom Sandbox).
  • Research Books originally featured more varied sizes and cover art; however, currently their art and size are more uniform.