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You Haul 19 Pounds

(Title with apologies to Merle Travis.)
A couple of days ago I requested an examination copy of Single Variable Calculus by John Ragowski from W. H. Freeman. Today a 19-pound package arrived at my door, containing 5 books: The book I requested in hardback plus Volume II of the paperback version, plus both paperback volumes of the Early Transcendentals version, plus a 1425-page Instructor's Solution Manual (Early Transcendentals). In addition, there was an Instructor Resources CD, and a nice canvas bag with the publisher logo and the slogan "No Teacher Left Behind". To top it all off, the fulfillment service mistakenly slipped in a packet of signage for a Bruegger's Bagels franchise. (I wonder if Bruegger's Bagels got a packet of calculus materials, and if so what they made of it.)
While I appreciate W. H. Freeman sending this so me so promptly, I doubt that all this is necessary. One book would have been enough for me to make an adoption decision. Sending out all these books seems to be a very non-sustainable practice. Even if I adopt the book, I have at least 3 books that I will never use. I have to ask how much this practice contributes to deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels, and the high price of textbooks.
So, are the books any good? I don't know yet, but it looks pretty much like a dozen other calculus textbooks.


Michael Ash said...

What a gaffe! The bagels were obviously meant to accompany the topology textbook.

I agree about the appalling flood of textbook adoption materials. What can be done?

Peter Ash said...

I'd propose that publishers provide a link and password to a place where the potential adopter can view the entire textbook and any ancillary materials. The password would be only usable from one computer. That way, the professor can see everything, and no trees have to die. Comments, anyone?