Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Math bloggers: Would you like free Math books to review?

Over the past year I've developed relationships with some publishers of Math books and I've received a number of free books. Publishers are very interested in getting newly published books into the hands of bloggers if we're willing to review them on our blogs. One publisher has explicitly asked me if I know of any Math bloggers who would review books and that request prompted this post.

I would like to build an email list of Math bloggers who are serious about reviewing books. This means that you should not ask publishers for books that you have no intention of reviewing or that you plan to give a crummy review to. This doesn't mean that your reviews need to be rosy but, if they include criticism, it should be balanced with positive feedback. And, if you get a book and then realize that you can't review it that's ok although that shouldn't happen too often. I've turned down requests to review books if I don't think I'll like the book or if I think it's too advanced or too basic for my audience but I have reviewed every book I've gotten. You can see plenty of reviews on this blog.

Here's how I envision the whole process working. If you want to be on my mailing list you send me an email and I add you. When a publisher contacts me (a number contact me now when they are publishing a new book) I will write back and tell them that I have a list of X Math bloggers and I'll ask them if they'd like for me to forward their review request to my list. I won't give them the mailing list and I'll forward their request to the list blind (BCC) so your email address will be safe. If you like the book they are promoting you respond directly to them (not to me). You provide them with your mailing address and they ship you a copy of the book (I'm not sure if publishers will ship outside the US - we'll have to find out.) You get to keep the book. Your commitment is to review the book. I've never had a publisher impose restrictions on any of my reviews (minimum length, for example) and I've never had any time pressure to write a review although sooner is certainly better than later.

If you would like to participate, contact me at the email address at the bottom of my About page. Keep in mind that you want to have good relationships with publishers. You don't want to ask for too many books that you don't review. If you ask for a book, receive it, and then realize that you can't review it please let the publisher know that that's the case. I don't believe that a publisher would ask you to return a book if you're sincere in your relationship with them. If you repeatedly ask for books and don't review them then publishers will not want to send you any more. And, if they complain to me I'll remove you from the list.

While there's no money in reviewing books - spending a couple of hours (or longer) reading a book and then taking the time to review it is not worth the cost of a free book - I do it for the fun of it and for the value of spreading the word about good books.

If you're a Math blogger I'd also appreciate it if you'd spread the word about this offer through your blogs. Thanks.

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Comments (6) Trackbacks (1)
  1. What kind of math books are we talking about, books for the lay reader? No one is going to read a book and say complex analysis in a couple of hours.

  2. Oops, I mean “…on say complex analysis…”

  3. Chuck – the books tend to be for the high school crowd and they tend to be recreational Math books, not text books. No one has offered me a book on complex analysis and I wouldn’t accept one since it doesn’t fit this blog’s audience, or my personal interest.

  4. I’d be interested.

    I do need to confess that I took a book about two years, for review, and guinea pigged it with some students, who were not at all impressed – so I ended up not writing.

    But that was not my intent going in.

    Looking back, I think I could have foreseen that this was not a book I was likely to end up with positive things to say about. So that was a mistake, but one I think I can learn from.

  5. Jonathan – I think it’s ok to let a publisher know that you won’t be reviewing a book. I know that some will argue that you should have written a bad review. That’s a tough call.

  6. Math books would be good for review if they were simple as chuck stated. I think if the bloggers liked their products obviously they would give it a good review. If not it can be quite risky for the publishers.
    Visit Cool Math Brain for Walk Through Math Lessons.

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