Novels, Series and Movies Aren't Reliable
Basically, novels, movies and series can be pleasurable once in a while, they can be used for inspiration, to arouse curiosity and so on, but they cannot be, are not and will never be scholarly sources of information on the topics of Wicca and Paganism.
Recognizing Quality Books
When I am flipping through a book in a bookstore, or reading through a short sample on the Internet (as can be found on Google Books for example), I always primarily look at the chapter on magic if it exists (and generally it does). The recent trend of reducing Wicca and Paganism to practicing magic is not something I find acceptable at all because this results in the complete disregard for the devotional aspect which is also important. In this case, magic is only one (discretionary) element of Paganism/Wicca. Furthermore, if I notice that the author of the particular book is focused more on serving "recipes" for spells and less on the magical process (which is based on the independent writing and planning of a magical act), I automatically eliminate this book. Of course, this does not mean that some authors won't give an example here and there which really does come in handy at the beginning of everyone's path. But any person that practices magic should be aware that magic is only as potent as the amount of energy that is poured into it. If someone just takes a book and reads from it something that somebody else has written, the amount of invested effort is null.
Precisely because the above mentioned reason, I would recommend to everyone that they, at least initially, avoid spell books and books similar to them which serve everything on a silver platter. Book such as these bear names such as "50 Love Spell To Change Your Life", "Use Magic to Get Money", "Little Book of Spells" and so on. They should be placed on the self-help bookshelf because this is what they are used for. They will not have any effect, but they will comfort those that are in need of them at that moment. They actually give false hope and develop negative stereotypes of Wiccans and Pagans. I claim the latter because they encourage the belief (and practice) that Wiccans, Pagans and witches practice magic out of selfishness and in the process completely neglect the ethical aspect of their spirituality. The more people read these types of books, the more will actually begin to disregard moral values and begin acting just in order to help themselves regardless of the consequences. In addition to all this, the very fact that these books can be found on every corner, from bookstores to newsstands and supermarkets, doesn't instill much confidence (although I have come across quality books on newsstands several times, but the books there are ordinarily low-quality).
Another type of literature which I by no means like are beginner kits in which you get a book and "everything you will need to get you started". This can be cute, but if someone needs to sell a whole pile of things along with a book in order to sell it, then something is suspicious here. Also, I find it hard to believe that you can get everything you will need to get started in a very small (and very thin) plastic bag. In my opinion, these sorts of books are intended for people that don't take Paganism or Wicca seriously, but rather want to satisfy a temporary whim for a small amount of money.
Sine Wicca and Paganism have gained a lot of popularity among teenagers in the past few decades, more and more books are being writtern precisely for them. The most notorious among them are Teen Witch and To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf (interesting fact: the latter is among Llewellyn Publishing's bestsellers). Many people have negative opinions of this author for various reasons, but I won't be going into that here. But I have to bring up some pieces of criticism which are aimed at some of here books as well as all other books which are written for teenagers. First of all, they generally seem quite frivolous because of the way they are written and the examples given. Second of all, along with a simplified language, they also offer a simplified philosophy/history/theology of Wicca and Paganism which definitely doesn't benefit the reader no matter their age. In short, although the authors of these books do succeed in their aim of simplifying and bringing the topic closer to their readers, they tend to do this at the expense of information. Because of these, one needs to be very careful with these and all other "beginner" books. In the "Recommended Reading" section, I listed those beginner books which I think present information clearly and concisely, but in the process do not leave out important information and do not trivialize things. This does not mean that they are the best choices for everyone, but I believe they complement each other nicely and that everyone can build a quality foundation in Wicca and Paganism if they begin by reading this selection of books.
When I am able to flip through a book, after I've had a look at the chapter on magic, I immediately flip to the chapter on history. I am lucky enough to have learn some historical facts and am now able to judge the quality of the book at hand based on the accuracy of what is said in this chapter. Generally speaking, an author that includes a chapter on the history of Paganism/Wicca in their book and does not have their historical facts straight is not an author worth reading. I recommend you always look up at least some basic dates and names from this chapter if you are able to do so. You can search in other reliable and already tested sources on this topic, or simply use Google until you yourself have gained enough knowledge to assess the accuracy of the presented historical facts.
Some other faults I noticed in low-quality or mediocre quality books are hypocrisy and deficiency. The hypocrisy can usually be seen in the critique of other religions/faiths/spiritualities on the basis of their discriminatory acts from the past and present while simultaneously ridiculing these same religions/faiths/spiritualities and preaching about tolerance and love toward others. Deficiency is an equally bad flaw because it is reflected in scant information which lacks explanations. Too many books simply say "do this" and "do this that way precisely at that time" without explaining why something is done, why it's done in this manner and at that time. Because of this greatly appreciate the book Elements of Ritual by Deborah Lipp, for example. This was the first book I came upon that really explains why certain things are done the way they are in rituals.
A common flaw of all of these books is that they lack seriousness, depth and/or range. That is to say, if you are looking for a beginner book, I recommend you focus more on the range of information so you can get a little bit of information on every aspect of Wicca/Paganism and, from that, discern what interests you the most. Of course, it is great if a book is able to go into depth as well as range of the topic. Now, once you have found out what interests you, I recommend you aim towards topical depth rather than range so you can expand your knowledge on the particular topic and develop a more quality practice. But the book you chose has to be serious! This does not mean that it cannot include a single witty remark, funny anecdote or something similar (many quality authors I have read have this writing style), but simply that it should be objective (although subjective comments and experiences are allowed in moderate doses), that it gives warnings if needed, that it emphasizes the importance and gravity of Pagan/Wiccan spiritual practice, or basically that it doesn't promote it like a thirty-second video/radio commercial would (can you hear the overly-enthusiastic, fake voices which give you a headache?).
The Internet: Caution
I recommend you don't even use the Internet as a source unless it's really necessary or unless the source is of exceptional quality! This goes for my blog as well. The Internet can be useful to remind oneself of some piece of information, check or compare certain facts and research different views of a topic. But it should not be taken as a primary information source.
A very important warning which I can give you regarding the Internet is that you must not let yourself be misled by web sites that offer virtual courses on Wicca/witchcraft/Paganism, and this goes double for those that claim they will initiate, cleanse, bless you or who knows what else for a "symbolic price". Priesthood crash courses and little schools of witchcraft...nonsense.
Still, if you are turning to web sites, I recommend you apply the same suggestions that I mentioned in the previous headings. Along with this, intuition can also help you a lot. If you sense that something is wrong with that particular web site, just move along.
Ultimately, experience will will play its part. If you persist and read various sources, you will learn, in time, to recognize at first glance what isn't any good or what doesn't suit you. Anyway, I hope that you will develop your own opinions and learn to criticize and question what you are reading. Never take anything for granted, be inquisitive, motivated and explore further!