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Saving money purchasing the previous edition of textbooks

  1. Aug 6, 2005 #1
    Looking at Basic Principles and Calculations of Chemical Engineering. 7th ED printed 2003, 6th ED printed 1996. Have "Basic Principals" changed a lot since then? If I can save a ridiculous sum of money would it be wise to get the older edition or is this going to leave out things of importance?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2005 #2
    You can't really tell unless you can compare them. A lot of books have a "foreword to nth edition" from which you can check what has changed. The basic priciples probably have not changed but newer editions can include newer applications and such. And also might have some poorly written parts upgraded.
  4. Aug 6, 2005 #3
    if you need that text for a class where the prof will assign homework from that textbook... then don't use an older edition, unless you are absolutely sure that the problems are the exact same.

    sometimes, the only major difference between editions is editing the problems at the end of the chapter.

    an easy way to save money is to buy the international edition, if that's available. :tongue2:
  5. Aug 6, 2005 #4
    if the problems don't get handed out in otherways than just the numbers of the excercises in the textbook that's an unbelievably stupid way to organize homework.
  6. Aug 6, 2005 #5
    That's how it is usually done in the states.....everyone is required to have the same textbook in a class, so it usually more convenient to just list a bunch of problem numbers.
  7. Aug 6, 2005 #6
    hmm, i'm going to think this over. I don't like the Int. Ed of books much because they have thin paper, are softcover, sometimes are only black and white... all things that i'd rather pay more to have.

    any other comments are welcome, thx.
  8. Aug 6, 2005 #7
    fwiw, my friend bought an international edition of calculus: early transcendentals, and i bought an international edition (south asian!) version of arfken/weber's mathematical methods book.

    both have hard covers. :cool:

    (my int. editioin of complex variables is softcover, though. :grumpy: )
  9. Aug 6, 2005 #8


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    I actually think that many textbooks get worse, not better, with each revision. I recently got a good used copy of Halliday and Resnick, Third Edition (1988) for five dollars, and I like it much better than the modern editions, which sell for upward of one hundred dollars and are bloated with colorful distractions for the ADD students. Same applies to the calculus textbooks.

    Don't worry about undergrad textbooks going out-of-date. Very little has changed in either math or physics in the last twenty years that an undergrad would need to know about. In fact, the best textbooks for graduate-level Mechanics and E&M were written thirty and forty years ago, and they are still being used today. That is not to say that the fields of math and physics have not advanced in twenty years -- obviously they have -- but you will have plenty of time to learn about the latest advances after you have mastered the fundamentals.
  10. Aug 7, 2005 #9


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    i agree with jma 2001. the older the edition of the book the better the book is. the only reason for new editions is to milk the poor student for higher prices and make it harder to buy old editions. i.e. the prof always uses the newest edition and assigns hw from that. so you need it only for the hw. but for the knowledge, the older edition is usually superior, since the later edition is not written to improve the exposition but merely for making more money, and it is usually, if not always, inferior in quality to the older one. I would say "always" myself, but some counterexamples must exist.

    in fact resnick and halliday may be a counterexample since the 1960 edition seemed like a piece of #$%# to me.
  11. Aug 8, 2005 #10

    Dr Transport

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    Many international versions of a text do not pay author their portion of royalties. A friend of mine spent many dollars trying to recup the fees from pirated versions of his text. His response was to publish with a publisher with a large international reputation. The price of the second edtion better than doubled, but he hasn't lost a penny of his royalyties to the pirates out there.
  12. Aug 9, 2005 #11


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    I am glad for your friend, and I believe expensive books usually deserve their price in some way. But students are often poor and we are relatively well paid as professors, and we are also usually paid for our time writing books, or take it out of our research time, so while I myself try never to pirate anything - software, music, books, or anything else, including pens and paper, I sympathize with needs of students and so, like many other current authors, I make my materials available free. Then I never lose a penny either to pirates.
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