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December 26, 1966

The Development of Medical Textbooks

Author Affiliations

McGraw-Hill Book Co. New York

JAMA. 1966;198(13):1373. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110260085032

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To the Editor:—  I was quite interested in the editorial "What's Wrong With Medical Textbooks?" (197: 291, 1966). Although I agree in general with the thesis of the editorial, there are some things which I believe ought to be considered in relation to some of the proposals that are put forth.At the outset let me say I would agree most textbooks currently available in medicine are, in reality, reference texts. At the same time, this relates to the market for medical "texts" since a majority of professors desire it. That is, they prefer not to have a short book which the student can follow, but rather to have a larger book to which he can refer.We and other publishers have experimented with short, succinct books which cover only the basic knowledge in a given area. Almost without exception these have been unsuccessful. I believe there are several reasons