Markets in everything, book lovers’ edition

by on January 31, 2009 at 7:59 pm in Books | Permalink


Chemical Shifts and Coupling Constants for Silicon-29 (Landolt-Bornstein: Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology - New Series) (Hardcover)

That's the Amazon listing, as reported to me by the excellent John Goldin.  The price is a mere $8,539 (and at that you have to wait four to six weeks).  The thirty-five customer reviews are especially rewarding to read; some complain that the tome is "too commercial."  Here are some bits from the readers, under the fold...

I picked up a copy at my local used book store at a discount. It was
only $7,000 so I feel like it was a HUGE bargain. What value! First let
me say that the book does start off a little slow but once you get into
the third chapter, "Silicon Molecules: We Hardly Knew Ye'", you just
can't put this book down. It isn't without it's moments though. The
contrast between antagonist and protagonist is just simply fantastic. I
highly suggest reading this book by flashlight under the covers or in a
homemade fort/tent in your bedroom. A+ and Highly recommended!

And:

I'm a big fan of the NMR genre, but this book was really just phoned
in. I mean, "Chemical Shifts of P-31 Compounds" had me on the edge of
my seat, and "Hyperfine Coupling Constants of the Pnictogens" had a
little something for everybody. I can say this with the conviction that
only comes with love when I say that "Chemical Shifts and Coupling
Constants for Silicon-29" is total crap.

And:

Every page was worth the $18.44 cents it cost me to read! One would
think "for the cost of $8000, one better be able to do rocket science
after reading." Well, I have even better news. After I closed this
book, I realized I had gained the knowledge to spontaneously teleport!
That's right! I don't even need this junky telepod anymore.

And:

I clicked on the "I'd like to read this book on Kindle" link. Can't wait to hear from Springer.

And:

Fascinating, witty, and very subtle in it's criticisms of our modern
times. It's an intensely moving story about how a young Nepalese boy
"Silicon" (age 29) struggles to get by in a city that offers no support
for immigrants as he works a meaningless job to get by. The woman he
loves is a violent criminal, and this book chronicles his struggle to
hold on to his righteousness while simultaneously trying to woo her and
become a couple.

But I won't spoil the ending! Buy this book and you won't be disappointed!

I liked this one-star review:

Do not be fooled! Lechner and Marsmann are mental infants. Every third
year grad student knows that you can't manipulate subvolume III/35A
with nuclei B-11 without first lowering the magnetic replicator to -300
ohms! Not to mention that unless you lower the cylindrical volume 4
quarks you'll freeze 90% of the atoms! And don't get me started on
nucleus Si-29, you can't…

Finally:

This is a good book. But it's just not worth the price. I suggest you shop around for a used copy!

efp January 31, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Boy, I wish I had turned off 1-click purchasing before I went to that page.

mobile January 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Yeah, but you get free shipping.

Isaac Crawford January 31, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Enjoy this while it lasts. I have a feeling that Amazon will reset the comments before too long. The all time classic happened with a “Family Circus” reprint volume. The topics of the reviews included Marxist deconstructionism, semiotics, post modern theorizing, etc. There were probably 30 or so “reviews” and they had me in stitches. That’s a lot more than I could say about the book… Needless to say, they wiped out all of them…

Curt Fischer February 1, 2009 at 12:22 am

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the hefty price tag is for the whole set of the Landolt-Bornstein series Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology, or, at a minimum, for the *entire* Volume 35, “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data”? It doesn’t make sense to pay that much for a listing of chemical shifts for Si-29 compounds.

anonymous February 1, 2009 at 1:19 am

The relationship between the two main characters lacks chemistry…

Daniel February 1, 2009 at 2:14 am

The classic is the reviews for A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates

The top-rated review gave it only one star:
The book is a promising reference concept, but the execution is somewhat sloppy. Whatever algorithm they used was not fully tested. The bulk of each page seems random enough. However at the lower left and lower right of alternate pages, the number is found to increment directly.

dearieme February 1, 2009 at 7:59 am

The best Chemistry textbook ever is Dasent’s “Nonexistent Compounds”.
Perhaps there’s a market niche for an Economics text “Nonexistent Knowledge”?

Eric H February 1, 2009 at 11:55 am

My autistic wife thought these were genuine reviews until she got to the 4th one. I just don’t understand why people want to buy it in hardcover when the Penguin mass market version may only cost $1000 or so.

Paul F. Dietz February 3, 2009 at 9:43 am

The classic (at least, for computer geeks) Amazon review was on the children’s book “The Story About Ping”.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2VDKZ4X1F992Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R2VDKZ4X1F992Q

(raises a glass to Mike Muuss, may he rest in peace.)

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