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1. mistakes in math textbooks
I won't give any names but theres a textbook I've been given to study for calculus and about 2% of the book contains errors with the answers at the back (confirmed using maple and lecturer confirmed errors in textbook) so I'm starting to get a bit pissed of as just when I think I've understood something, then bam something else pops out to confuse me even more,

anyone else in this situation

I mean take this formula for example, basically it's to be transposed

r/g-20y e^2yg - 1/(g+1)

the answer in the book basically does this r=20y g - 1/(g+1) when the answer should be r=20 y g + 1/(g+1)
Last edited by mox123; 12-06-2012 at 05:02.
2. Re: mistakes in math textbooks
Yea happens a lot to be honest. That's why it is always great to use the books as a guide more than anything else. Before buying the book, always check reviews on sites just to be sure that the answer are legitimate.
3. Re: mistakes in math textbooks
Text books are notorious for doing that, so it forces people to buy new ones once they've released a new version with less mistakes.
4. Re: mistakes in math textbooks
contact the publisher (maybe look on their website) to see if they have published corrections.
5. Re: mistakes in math textbooks
Defending text book authors (I am one)... we, being human, have that unfortunate habit of raednig waht we epxect to raed.

My own first textbook went through extensive proofing - as well as the publisher's proofing team, we had 6 people fully tech-review it (including doing all the exercises), and I got 4 maths-savvy colleagues to check through the maths examples specifically at the last stage. I even went through every page upside down and backwards (proofreading trick to try to reduce the brain's potential to match imperfect patterns).

We were sure we'd got *everything*. After printing I found 3 mistakes - two minor, but one is an incorrect sign in the middle of the pythagorean theorem. WTF? Gutted... the very same error is corrected on the next page, but somehow we missed it the first time we show it. Awful.

Now, I agree that some textbooks have higher error rates than others, but I'm absolutely certain that it's not a ploy to get you to buy a newer copy. Us maths-textbook-writers have OCD. If we didn't, we'd never sign up to write a maths textbook in the first place!

My best guess is that the author of the book you're having problems with was under time pressure, and the higher the level of your book, the fewer people there are who can check it (and the busier those people tend to be). Plus, sometimes you find a mistake in the original question, and catch it there but forget to change the solution.

If you want to make a difference to this, my publisher (O'Reilly) is always looking for extra tech reviewers - I'm guessing other publishers are as well. Just email them - or the author directly if you have their email. They'll value your help on the next one!

O'Reilly are moving to a print-on-demand model, so errata can be fixed easily. The downside is that any 2 students in a class might have slightly different versions of the textbook - unless you're going for kindle, in which case you get fixes for free.
6. Re: mistakes in math textbooks
i had this with my physics, biology and geography text books for a level.
physics was the worst, answers in the back were wrong, a couple of questions themselves were wrong and some diagrams and information printed was wrong. biology was more a case of getting words mixed up with definitions etc, and geography was just silly mistakes such as trees absorb CO2 through respiration - the teacher read the book out infront of the class and i was like o.O

i know how confusing it is, especially when you think youve finally cracked it then the books like nope. i would always ask my teacher about the answers and then write the correct ones in for future users of the book. but yeah...theres not really much you can do about it which is why its so annoying