[SIGCIS-Members] Clasroom adoption of possible Mahoney collection paperback

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Fri Nov 9 12:02:30 PST 2012

Hello everyone,


As you may remember, I edited a book, Histories of Computing, collecting the
late Mike Mahoney's papers on the history of computing. I don't get sales
statements or royalties - those go to his estate, but it looks from Worldcat
as though library sales for the $50 hardcover have been respectable but not
outstanding - about 430 libraries showing up. (If you want to persuade your
librarian to purchase it, you could show them Nathan Ensmenger's very
positive review in Science --


Now $50 is obviously a lot to pay for a collection of previously published
essays, however brilliant the critical introduction and editing. So it would
be nice is Harvard UP could be persuaded to issue a paperback for around
$25, at which point it would become more of an impulse buy.


The economics of that would depend on a reasonable prospect of adoption for
courses. I don't have much personal insight into this - the only time I've
attempted teaching history in the last ten years is when I was invited to
run a doctoral seminar at in the information and communication school of the
University of Western Ontario this summer. It attracted one student, who
dropped out half way through. So I don't want to promise Harvard that there
is a huge market for the collection if that's not true.


So, would you be likely to assign a $25 softcover of Histories of Computing
for a class? If so, approximately how many students and how often might you
teach it. Send me an email, and if I get a reasonable number of expressions
of interest I'll forward them to HUP.





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