The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources

Math Textbooks

One of the major financial problems for college students is the cost of textbooks and the fact that new discoveries are constantly making current editions of textbooks out of date. Math students have this problem a little less than some other students. Mathematics is the “science of numbers” and includes numbers in relation to one another, abstractions about numbers, space configurations and several other aspects - which do not change all that much from year to year, although what people DO with numbers can change. The last major math event took place in 1993 with the proof of Fermat’s last theorem.

Algebra, trigonometry, calculus (differential and integral), geometry (analytic, plane and solid) are the main branches of mathematics but there are subdivisions of these and statistics and theories of probability also come under the heading of mathematics. Each of these branches has their own textbooks. It is a good thing, then, that used math textbooks are often good for many years. Arithmetic, a discipline which is becoming almost obsolete due to the use of calculators, refers to the basic manipulation of numbers that we lean in second grade: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

It used to be that the search for the best bargain in textbooks was limited to stores clustered around campuses or notes pinned up on bulletin boards by departing students. Now it is possible online to do a simple search of what is available across the country for textbooks in a particular field of mathematics or even for a specific book required by a teacher. Thousands of sources may be found in a simple search. The latest resources include free e-textbooks available online.

Some students may be interested in receiving the teacher’s guide to a certain textbook. These, too, are available online. Most teachers require a particular text, but if a student is able to exercise choice about what textbook to use, it may be helpful to look for reviews of textbooks.