Getting some of your Zen Buddhism from the Internet is really an okay thing to do. There are a lot of great ebooks to be found, many of which are free while others can be purchased through Google (the major part of the Pali Nikayas can be found as Google ebooks which are well worth the purchase). There is also Questia, an online academic library that I use all the time. It is awesome. For those who are serious about their Zen Buddhism, the cost for all this is not that much. On the other hand, for the cheapskates, I assume that using some online Buddhist or Zen chat room is the answer which can be found on Reddit, for example, or some other Buddhist forum.
To go with the latter, let me say, is a huge mistake (the cheapskate route). The rudiments of Zen Buddhism, and just plain Buddhism, cannot be learned by joining a chat room. Chat rooms are not for inquisitive minds. They are mainly for lazy newbies.
I have been around these kinds of Internet newbies since the first Netscape browser. I know them well. They are a most sullen bunch (yes, I said “sullen”) because they really don’t wish to study Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. They want, so to speak, the quick fix. Often, they are going through some kind of mental crisis and are of the opinion that meditation will help them, as if their pattern of behavior didn’t matter at all! This is a sorry ass way to learn Zen. It’s not Zen at all.
When I studied Zen with my teacher I had to read Buddhist texts for at least an hour a day—bright and early in the morning. Not that I understood all that I read (far from it) but I became familiar with the material, which is important. Let me stress that reading is important; learning Zen by way of zazen is not good enough—it is just part of the picture. It has to be supplemented by reading (hopefully the teacher knows the material, too). Also I had to practice awareness all the time. I would often get hauled on the carpet when my awareness faltered. You learn to be aware of all that you do, or else.
Newbies, for the most part, bypass this. There is no mental culture; no changing of old outworn patterns of behavior. Just the same old stuff: garbage in, garbage out. Moreover, they are unwilling to learn any new principles. In this respect they are very conservative. They cuddle their old patterns afraid to let go. Most are incorrigible and argumentative. No average or below average Zen center would put up with these people for a minute.