The Reprint Scene

In some academic disciplines there is no dearth of good Indian books. And in some, the abysmal lack is telling... When we started Scholars, we had no idea that the number of good original texts in subjects as important as chemistry or biology, or for that matter physics or mathematics, would be so few...

Why does this make a difference? After all, there is good scholarship elsewhere and one can argue that its not really necessary to have every book written in India, that some subjects are universal, and the laws of nature do not change from place to place etc. Well, it does matter, because every textbook writer brings her or his own educational pattern into the mode of presentation, the emphasis, the examples, and so on, so many otherwise excellent books have an element of the unfamiliar, making many students rush to the comforting arms of a kunji come exam time...

Many publishers have reprints especially intended for distribution in the subcontinent, or in South Asia, and this post is about the more unusual of them. Major publishers like Pearson, Prentice Hall, John Wiley, McGraw Hill and Springer have a major presence here in the textbook market with low priced editions of books published in the west, sometimes under their own imprint and sometimes (especially like Springer) in collaboration with local publishers.

While it defies a certain obvious logic, as beneficiaries, we can hardly complain... Books that would be prohibitively expensive become available, even if the market is small. Take Overseas Press who have, since 2003, brought out reprints of "some best-selling academic titles in the field of physics, Applied Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics" from prominent publishers in the UK, Europe, USA and Singapore, "to provide the student community of the Indian sub-continent, comprising of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Mayanmar and Bangladesh with economy editions of the original texts." This story multiplies itself many times in the Indian publishing industry- Viva, Ane, Anamaya, Capital, Prism, Madhyam,.... the list is long.

One of the Overseas reprints that caught my eye is the slender but widely (and correctly) feted Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation by (Sir) Michael V Berry. A necessity in every library, this book is a wonderful example of clear writing, especially on difficult matters. Anyhow, for what its worth, here are some of their titles in physics that might be of interest (all titles are the paperback versions).

  • Astrophysical Techniques, 3/e C R Kitchin, Rs 495, ISBN 81-88689-07-6
  • Basic Ideas and Concept in Nuclear Physics: An Introductory Approach, 2/e K Heyde, Rs. 445, ISBN 81-88689-08-4
  • Fractal and Chaos: An Illustrated Course, Paul Addison, Rs. 395, ISBN 81-88689-10-6
  • The Bases of Chemical Thermodynamics, Michael Graetzel & Pierre Infelta, Rs. 545 ISBN 81-88689-38-6

  • Nanotechnology Basic Science and Emerging Technologies, M Wilson, K Kannangara, G Smith, M Simmons, B Raguse, Rs 395, ISBN 81-88689-20-3
  • Introduction to Gauge Field Theory and String Theory, D Bailin & A Love, Rs 345, ISBN 81-88689-05-X
  • Introduction to Chaos: Physics and Mathematics of Chaotic Phenomena, H Nagashima & Y Baba, Rs 245, ISBN 81-88689-12-2
  • Molecular Symmetry and Spectroscopy, 2/e P R Bunker, Rs 695, ISBN 81-88689-15-
  • Nonlinear Dynamics: A Two-Way Trip from Physics to Math H G Solari, M A Natiello, G B Mindlin, Rs 395, ISBN 81-88689-16-5
  • Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation, M V Berry, Rs 295, ISBN 81-88689-17-3
  • Statistical Mechanics: Fundamentals and Model Solutions, Teunis C Dorlas, Rs 245, ISBN 81-88689-06-8
  • Superfluidity and Superconductivity, D R Tilley & J Tilley, Rs 495, ISBN 81-88689-19-X
  • Introductory Thermodynamics, Pierre Infelta, Rs 295, ISBN 81-88689-37-6
  • General Relativity, Robert M Wald, Rs 645, ISBN 81-88689-27-0

Do write in to us for any of the titles you might like to have.