By Bob Koerner
Thirty years ago while contemplating “Designing With Geosynthetics,” I never dreamed that there would be a sixth edition and yet here we are but not without some major changes.
Back in the 1980s, I had experience with writing textbooks for all of the major technical book publications (John Wiley and Sons, McGraw-Hill, and Prentice-Hall) and decided on the latter which today is Pearson Publishing Co. It was a good experience since their editors were fully familiar with technical books containing figures, tables, example problems, S.I. units, equations, Greek symbols, etc.
The typed manuscripts always came out in book published form looking fantastic. They also had a sales department that visited all colleges and universities greatly aiding in the adoption process. As with many cutting-edge technical areas (geosynthetics being no exception) new information and products required revisions and successive editions followed with the status of all previous editions as follows:
Two years ago, however, I was informed by the book publisher that sales were insufficient for a sixth edition. This was a surprise since plans were already under way! Since the price was $150 per copy, however, I rationalized that a different publisher might even be an advantage.
The new sixth edition manuscript was sent to the publisher April 5, 2011, with the hope that it would be ready for the autumn 2011 academic year. However, surprises were immediate. One was that Xlibris’ books are smaller in size than a standard engineering textbook and would require two separate volumes. Thus, there are four chapters in each volume:
- Vol. 1–Geosynthetics, Geotextiles, Geogrids, and Geonets
- Vol. 2–Geomembranes, Geosynthetic Clay Liners, Geofoam, and Geocomposites
Another surprise was that the editors were unfamiliar with analytical and technical presentations. Each volume was proofread five times. I certainly hope for the best in this regard. One positive issue, however, is that the book prices are much lower:
- Hardbound: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 ~ $34.00
- Softbound: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 ~ $24.00
As with all previous editions, there are homework problems at the end of each chapter and a solutions manual is available for those interested (e.g., faculty teaching a geosynthetics course). I would estimate that 20% is new from the previous edition, particularly the inclusion of failure situations (and their avoidance), sustainability information, new products, and recent references.
Regarding adoption, faculty members will have to work through the publisher directly, while individuals can order through online booksellers. The authors service representative is Laura Reagen (laura.reagen@Xlibris.com) and she can also put you into contact with their book consultant who can contract with you for volume discounts.