Most used supplementary books in U.S. survey courses, ranked by course adoptions, 1995-2004


Kathleen writes "By the Book: Assessing the Place of Textbooks in U.S. Survey Courses by Daniel J. Cohen in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of American History lists as the top ten: 1) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; 2) Coming of Age in Mississippi; 3) After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection; 4) The Jungle; 5) Common Sense; 6) Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; 7) The Unredeemed Captive; 8) Thinking through the Past: A Critical Approach to U.S. History; 9) Uncle Tom's Cabin; 10) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin/ The Puritan Dilemma."


More interesting by far than this minor point (heavily skewed to slavery) is what the author reported about the publishers, for instance:

"The diversity of the assigned textbooks masks growing concentration within the publishing industry. The publishing giant Pearson Longman supplied textbooks to 99 of the 258 spring 2004 courses in the database (38.4% of the total), followed by the Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group (49 courses, 19%), McGraw-Hill (43 courses, 16.7%), Houghton Mifflin (25 courses, 9.7%), W. W. Norton and Company (19 courses, 7.4%), Thomson Learning (16 courses, 6.2%), and HarperCollins (3 courses, 1.2%)."

Librarians have been watching this concentration in many fields for years, and it doesn't seem to be improving. I suppose it is very hard to make a profit.

But thank you for the referral--it was indeed an interesting article.