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Where can I find the leading textbooks on each subject?

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I'd like to be able to find the most-used (or highest-rated) college textbooks on each subject. For example: What are the leading textbooks on general chemistry? On statistics? On measure theory? On astrophysics? On classical history? On linguistics? On psychotherapy? On fiction writing?

I've been searching, but so far I haven't found a way to get such answers. Any clues?
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Question by:lukeprog
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Expert Comment

by:jimyX
ID: 35170275
Have you checked Google (Books & Shopping)?
You can search for any book, for example this link is for "general chemistry" which will give you plenty of on-line books. Any book you click, you will get many options such as obtaining the book as a hard-copy through amazon or other if available.

Or you can check on Amazon directly:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=general+chemistry&x=0&y=0

>   "highest-rated-rated"
Not sure if you are looking for EE Experts rating. On Amazon you may check the Customers Review. Many customers are sharing their evaluation of the quality of knowledge of any book they got.
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Author Comment

by:lukeprog
ID: 35170369
jimyX,

Yes, but:

- such searches are not limited to textbooks
- such searches do not display titles that are on that subject but just don't happen to contain the subject title in the title - for example 'Meaning and Argument' is an excellent textbook on logic, but it won't come up in a search if you search for 'logic' or 'logic textbook.'
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Expert Comment

by:jimyX
ID: 35171104
Partially agree with you for the first point. But after all, it depends on what you write in the search box.

I searched for "logic Meaning and Argument" and:
http://www.google.com/search?q=general+chemistry&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=sHp&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&tbs=bks:1&q=logic+Meaning+and+Argument&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=7bf5484dc1102707

Does the first book is what you referred to "Meaning and Argument"?

Always the search gets you many results so the key thing here is to know what you are looking for and how to phrase and use the terms. In anyway you can review and filter the findings before you move further to download/buy any. You will be surprised with the results.
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Author Comment

by:lukeprog
ID: 35172002
It's possible that what I'm looking for does not exist...
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Expert Comment

by:jimyX
ID: 35172056
Possible.
EE is mainly for solving technology problems, if you find experts here on those subjects, they will be few.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 35172173
If you know at what level - beginner - intermediate - advanced, you can get a better idea of what you are searching for.

If you know nothing about college chemisrty, perhaps the following search in Google will be helpful: "general chemistry" textbook college -online. (-online will eliminate results with online in them).
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Expert Comment

by:TommySzalapski
ID: 35172622
I'd like to be able to find the most-used (or highest-rated) college textbooks on each subject.
Most used by total number of sales? Most used by high ranking universities? Most used by number of universities? Do two year schools count?
Highest rated by students? Professors?

Here is my suggestion. Pick a university or two that you know turn out quality students (Stanford, MIT, etc.) Find out what book they use. Find a used copy of that book from one edition behind the newest. (They are usually super cheap since all the students need to buy the new one).
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Author Comment

by:lukeprog
ID: 35172702
TommySzalapski,

Yeah, that's probably what I'll do if there is no such resource as I described.
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Accepted Solution

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TommySzalapski earned 500 total points
ID: 35172739
Well, you can search for textbooks by subject on Alibris.
http://www.alibris.com/subjects/subjects-textbooks
You can actually sort it by top selling there, but that doesn't mean it's the best. You could also use the titles you find there to look up reviews on Amazon or something.
But here's my point. Professors do the similar research to what you are trying to do when they choose a textbook. Why do all the work when someone who really knows the subject did all the work already? I would trust a professor at a good university above some retail site or random reviews from students anyway.
But Alibris will give you a good starting point to find your books on your own if you want.
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Author Closing Comment

by:lukeprog
ID: 35172765
This is what I was looking for. Something to get started with. Of course, checking university syllabi and searching for reviews will usually be necessary, too.
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