Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction, now in Kindle Edition

Time, I feel, for a bit of gratuitous self-publicity.

I got a very nice piece of news just before Christmas which is that my little book Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction has now sold over 25,000 copies worldwide. I never thought it would sell so well but I’m very happy with the positive reactions it has received. The book was written in 2001 so it’s a little out of date now, because cosmology has moved on quite a bit in the last decade. I don’t think the publishers want to do a new edition, so there’s not much I can do about updating it. I am however, almost finished with a new book which covers some of the more recent advances in the field.

In the spirit of self-promotion, here is one of the nice reviews on amazon from someone who is obviously extremely perceptive:

This is a truly excellent introduction to cosmology for specialist and non-specialist alike. It is non-mathematical and so may be read by anyone, but the overall cover is so good, in my opinion, that it would prove an ideal first read for both undergraduates and postgraduates. All the main topics are covered; the big problems facing us are all highlighted, but what makes this book stand out is the total lack of arrogance displayed by the author. When dealing with something which is not established fact, he gives his opinion but makes it absolutely clear that it is just that – his opinion! This is in marked contrast to the attitude displayed in most texts and is certainly contrary to the policy adopted by some popular scientific journals, which seem to establish a sort of ‘perceived conventional wisdom’ and refuse to publish anything which disagrees with that so-called wisdom. This book will certainly not lead the interested amateur astray, but will present both facts and theories and leave the reader to make up his own mind over matters which are still open to question.
I would urge anyone with an interest in cosmology to buy this book and read it . However, be warned; physically it is a little book but, to gain the maximum from reading it, it is definitely not a quick read! Read it, digest it and enjoy! It really is worth the effort!

Anyway, another thing worth mentioning is that this book is now available as a Kindle Edition. So if you got one of those for Christmas and are looking for things to put on it please consider Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction!

ps. I don’t have a Kindle myself. I did try one, but completely failed to get the fire started with it.

21 Responses to “Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction, now in Kindle Edition”

  1. Ian Douglas Says:

    I did, I was and I have. 25,001.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Advantages of Kindle: as many books as you like in the size of one.

    Disadvantages: Drop it and you have to buy another, unlike a book. And you can’t write your own notes in the margin or make corrections.

    Question: If you order a book to your Kindle, do you get a text file that is yours (if Kindle ceased being supported) and is portable (ie, transferable by USB or email and readable with standard software)?

    • telescoper Says:

      I think not, actually. I think the terms are that you get the text file on a kind of lease….

    • telescoper Says:

      I actually quite like the idea of a Kindle, but the technology is not really good enough yet. If they can make one that’s less likely to break and with a better screen then I might be interested. Same goes for the iPad, actually. In it’s current form it’s not worth the effort.

    • John Peacock Says:

      Write notes in a book? I remember the preface of a Bill Saslaw book, where he encouraged readers to scribble, since “it’s not a holy relic”. I remember wondering how an author in particular could possibly have failed to understand so comprehensively : all books are holy relics – they are really all that distinguishes us from any other animal. I couldn’t imagine disfiguring even the poorest text with such a disrespectful act. I can just about bring myself to copy in corrections of errata (very carefully and neatly), but the sort of person who (e.g.) makes liberal use of a highlighter is a barbarian who deserves to enjoy none of the benefits of civilization that books have made possible.

      • telescoper Says:

        Oh dear. I have to disagree. Many of the books I own are covered in sacrilegious scribblings, at least the interesting ones are, and I make no apology for having so abused them. Books are meant to be used, not worshipped. Margins are meant to be written in. Bill Salsaw was spot on, in my view (at least in this respect).

        In mitigation I should mention that I never use a highlighter, just a pencil, and in books with small margins I usually write on a bit of paper and stick it between the leaves.

        Defacing library books is a different matter, of course.

      • Well, John, when you die, your mind will die with you, rather than living on for future historians of science as is the case with Isaac Newton. 🙂

      • John Peacock Says:

        Peter, I really have to disagree strongly. Writing on books is just as bad as graffiti: graffiti is uncivilized behaviour (a) because it fails to respect the efforts of those who created a building, and (b) because it violates a public space. The analogy with books is precise: you wouldn’t scribble on a library book because others might use it, but what about people who will inherit your books after you pass away? A book has a potential life that goes beyond one owner, and we should all do everything we can to preserve them – rather then “personalising” them in the same territorial manner that dogs do to lamp-posts. For the same reason, cracking the spine of a paperback is almost as high up my list of sins as writing in it. And if you don’t worship books, what do you worship? Use and worship aren’t incompatible, as you prove by making notes on separate pieces of paper, or in a notebook, as I do.

      • telescoper Says:

        The analogy doesn’t seem to me to be very apt, especially with respect to (b). In any case if someone likes a book so much they should buy their own copy and thus reward the writer financially, rather than waiting for me to die so they can inherit mine!

        Also I remember some years ago seeing Lord Kelvin’s copy of George Green’s famous essay on mathematical physics. It was absolutely covered in annotations, a fact that increased its value enormously.

        One thing we probably agree on is that I am pathologically incapable of throwing books away, or even selling them on. My house is full of books, the only advantage being that the more bookshelves the less wall there is to paint.

        And the answer to your question “what do you worship?” is, I’m afraid, “nothing”.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Underlying this discussion is what is a book for?

        I would not dream of even correcting typos in my special edition of Lord of the Rings, printed on ultrathin but still opaque paper with various elvish scripts in red. Whereas in physics texts I correct every misprint in formulae that I can find, because the purpose of the book is to convey information. If I find an argument that I think is wrong then I make a note to that effect (not often or I wouldn’t have bought the book). If I find a book which I think does the derivation a better way then I scrawl in the reference at the bottom of the page. Oh, and John, I don’t use pencil; I use PERMANENT BLACK INK.

        What about the Bible, my book of faith? I have one Bible that is covered in scrawl and another that I would not dream of writing in.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Last winter some enterprising pensioners discovered that certain 2nd hand bookshops sold unwanted books by weight and that they had become cheaper than firewood. Horror stories then circulated, particularly in Germany I gather, that the British were reduced to burning their books to keep warm. But it seems to me to be a good idea. Few are the books that don’t go out of date, and anyway most books, like most songs, are rubbish even on the day they come out. I am all for bibliographic darwinism.

        Yours philistinically

      • telescoper Says:

        But you would need something to Kindle them with..

        Even if you don’t burn them, books definitely make good insulation.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    “It is non-mathematical and so may be read by anyone, but the overall cover is so good, in my opinion, that it would prove an ideal first read…”

    You can’t judge a book by the cover!

  4. is your new book available in south africa?

  5. John Peacock Says:

    Amazon provide free kindle reader software for the laptop of your choice. Since many of us never travel anywhere without one, that removes the need to consider buying a kindle (OK, they have longer battery life, but just for reading you can put your laptop in a low power mode and maybe go 5 hours between using a power cord, which is probably enough in most cases).

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