bio-sequence

Bill Purves purves at MUDDCS.CS.HMC.EDU
Mon Jan 27 17:50:22 EST 1997


At 11:44 AM 1/27/97 -0500, Ross Koning wrote:

>At  5:31 PM 1/26/97 -0800, Bill Purves wrote:

>>What a cool discussion!  By now it should be obvious that there is no
>>"right" way to handle the sequence, just as there is no "right" academic
>>calendar (quarters versus semesters) and, in fact, so few "right" things in
>>general.

>Bill,
>
>Maybe as an author, you could go into the subject about
>why there are few/no intro textbooks that go the macro-micro
>route.  There are so many "cut from the same block" books
>competing out there, it seems to me that some publisher
>could draw some business from that crowded pool if they
>had the thought of being different rather than the same.

I would love to see a greater diversity of aproaches out there.  But
it's NOT what we're seeing.  In fact, if you track the five general
bio books "for majors" out there (i.e., what I called something like
"those bloody big books"), you find that we are moving ever closer
together--while at the same time trying to "look" different.

Why?

Because the publishers (and to a considerable extent the authors)
want (a) to make money and (b) not to lose their shirts.  It's a
brutal market--and most of you know the joys of being descended
upon by a plague of publisher reps (please be nice to them, though ;-)
It's a Big Business, and marginal differences mean a lot at that
level.

A book that is too different will sink like a rock, taking the
publisher's bucks down with it.  I can think of two books in 
particular that underwent that fate some years ago--both written
by friends of mine, both with wonderful features.  Too different.



More information about the Plant-ed mailing list