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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 299

A plea to preserve the sanctity of a "Textbook"

Department of Pediatrics, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication26-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Chandrasekaran Venkatesh
Department of Pediatrics, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.152197

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How to cite this article:
Venkatesh C, Adhisivam B. A plea to preserve the sanctity of a "Textbook". Educ Health 2014;27:299

How to cite this URL:
Venkatesh C, Adhisivam B. A plea to preserve the sanctity of a "Textbook". Educ Health [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Feb 3];27:299. Available from:

Dear Editor,

We are in the age of an electronic revolution that is gradually changing the face of education worldwide. E-books are competing with textbooks for attention, with most youth turning to their net books, I-pads and android gizmos to access educational resources. [1] Medical education is no exception to this grand scheme of things. The Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, the most widely prescribed textbook for pediatric medicine in most medical schools throughout the world, is no longer a stand-alone textbook. First published in 1933, the book has stood the test of time for more than 80 years. [2] The actual textbook cost is very high in third world countries [Table 1] due to high inflation seen in recent years. [3],[4] To bring down the cost of the textbook, the publisher maintains a separate edition for developing countries; and these have gone through major modifications related to volume numbers, paper quality and print quality in each of the successive editions (especially the last four). The latest edition (19 th ) is a case in point where the editors have conveniently and generously used the comment "for the full continuation of the chapter, please visit the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics website at".
Table 1: Comparative pricing of Nelson text book over the years

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So students should have access to the internet whenever they intend to refer to this textbook. However, in many remote areas and low income countries, personal internet access is not available freely. In these countries, health care and medical education are highly subsidized, especially in the government sector and out of the pocket expense is at bare minimum for students as well as junior doctors who are posted in peripheral hospitals. Moreover, the availability of continuous uninterrupted power supply is also a problem due to frequent load shedding, which happened in a southern state of India in the past several months. [5] All these factors hamper the successful transfer of information from the present edition of the textbook.

We hope publishers will understand the hardships faced by students and rural physicians from low income countries and remote areas, and attempt to rectify this problem by bringing out a textbook that is all inclusive and only links out for bibliographic and reference information online, which can be accessed at the reader`s convenience. Additionally, for book lovers, the personal satisfaction from reading a textbook may never be achieved by any other means. Textbooks should retain their 'pure' character and e-books can co-exist with textbooks to meet the needs of students across different regions and different generations at the same time.

  References Top

[No authors Listed]. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Arch Dis Child 1983;58:942.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pomerance HH. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1997;151:324.  Back to cited text no. 3
Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Jul 12].  Back to cited text no. 4


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