http:/

Not to decrease anyone’s urgency, because we don’t know what kind of contract Webb signed, but I’m noticing that more and more academics writing textbooks (particularly in math), are retaining the rights to self-publish their work electronically (usually limited to distributing pdf copies from their own websites). Hooray for academic samizdat!

<blockquote>Nice Rama...thanks! Looks like the class is going to be complex analysis in the fall:

https:/

No mention of a book though...

Mike

<blockquote>On Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 8:35 AM, Rama Kunapuli <rama.kunapuli@gmail.com> wrote:

Download this excellent book before it goes to press!

http:/

Enjoy,

Rama Kunapuli</blockquote></blockquote>

Some of this pedagogy argument about slides likely fits better into the area of the flipped classroom versus non-flipped. Though slides may be great (particularly if students have copies of them beforehand to take notes on as is often done commercially by many biology textbooks which have 2-4 slides down the left side of the page and note space on the right hand side) for mathematics I much prefer having notes in <a href="http://refer.livescribe.com/a/clk/2G3Md">Livescribe</a> .pdf format with embedded audio. This allows a student to not only relisten to the entire lecture, where often a lot of complicated material (especially in higher level abstract courses) is said very quickly and isn't able to be written down even by some of the best transcriptionists with shorthand (and how many students know this anymore?), but they can skip around to parts they need more work on. As an example, download this <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/s/7g4rekbuzzr8nfz/Lie%20Groups-Lecture%203.pdf?dl=0">.pdf file from a Lie Groups lecture</a> and open it up in the most recent version of Adobe Reader to be able to see the visual and audio functionality.

The particular value often comes in seeing problems worked out in full detail with discussion, which some students need much more of than others. One of my favorite lecture experiences almost a decade ago was hearing an audible gasp from the classroom of undergraduates when Sol Golomb (USC) stopped in the middle of a complicated lecture on combinatorics and worked out a 4th grade simple long division problem on the board to get a final solution. Half the class had pulled out a calculator to get the answer and he'd finished before most of them had the first number input. The class learned more in that one minute of example than most did the entire lecture. Most of the best math is done in the "exploration" and practice than in a stripped down lecture as is highlighted in Ben Orlin's recent post: <a href="https://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2016/05/04/the-essence-of-mathematics-in-one-beatles-song/">The Essence of Mathematics</a>. While it's always lovely seeing theoretical mathematics as if it seemingly sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus, many students should see how the proverbial sausage (or laws) are actually made, especially at an earlier age.

*Thomas Cover (YouTube): https:/

*Raymond Yeung (Coursera): https:/

*Andrew Eckford/York University (YouTube): Coding and Information Theory https:/

*NPTEL: Electronics & Communication Engineering http:/

Fortunately, most are pretty reasonable, though vary in their coverage of topics. I'd be glad to hear about others, good or bad if others are aware. The top two are from professors who've written two of the most common textbooks on the subject. If I recall a version of the Yeung text is available via download through his course interface.

Given the tight margins in publishing math texts, it's my experience that any but the top .01% actually make any real profit for the authors. Given my experience the vast majority of math textbook authors actually want to give away the answers and actually help students. in the past several years, I've directly emailed math professors who've written textbooks for help and advice and most of them have actually replied, not only promptly, but typically with more information that I requested about particular problems and often with full solutions, and in many cases they've sent met full sets of solutions for their entire texts and in a few other cases, they've sent me full electronic copies of their texts for free!

I'll also note, there's also been a growing trend for mathematicians to reserve the right to publish electronic copies of their books on their personal websites where they make them freely available to students.

One of the most important changes in the textbook market that every buyer should be aware of: last year in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [http:/

To stick with your math example: I recently bought an international edition of Walter Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis (Amazon $121 http:/

Hint: Abe Books (a subsidiary of Amazon http:/

The same Calculus textbook you mentioned as a Sixth Edition can be easily found in paperback for $55.44 (I only did one search to find it, but I'm sure a little elbow grease might cut the price further) and ships within the US for less than $10. And because many students are apt to take the multi-variable calculus course as a follow up, this textbook also includes that material as an added bonus as well. http:/

The other option you leave out is purchasing the fifth edition, which isn't substantially different from the 6th edition and which can be easily found for less than $6 in good condition and including shipping.

Of course all this belies the true discussion of the how's and why's for why the textbook market is overpriced in the first place. For some of those ideas and suggestions of how we can fix them, I've written a short essay: "To Purchase, Rent, or Pirate? The Broken Economics of Textbooks in the Digital Age" http:/

I've written some more specific details and thoughts on the roots of the issue here: "To Purchase, Rent, or Pirate? The Broken Economics of Textbooks in the Digital Age" http:/

Thanks BI, for helping to not only highlight the problem, but to push solutions. Given the thesis of Cesar Hidalgo's recent text "Why Information Grows", one of the greatest business issues America faces is making it easier for information to disseminate within our culture, and the excessive cost of textbooks and education is going to have drastic effects on our culture and country in the coming century.

"The economics of college textbooks is very different from anything else," says Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan. "Professors select the books, and students have to pay for them, so the normal market mechanisms aren't at play here. Publishing companies charge whatever they can get away with, which is unsustainable."