Next, the gimmicks are dismissed--contests offering prizes in the author's name, pledges to donate royalties to save whales or rain forests, vows to overcome science illiteracy, touring authors, and so forth. Remaining, finally, is a pile of books, most of them well-written and abundantly illustrated. How is a busy professor to choose?

* The instructor of a 500-student nutrition class is offered $500 if she orders a particular book. The payment is for keeping a diary of student reactions to the text.

* A biology department has whittled down its choice to three books. One publisher offers the department $1 for every book ordered, to be used for educational equipment.

* The text selection committee of a university science department has made a decision, but changes its mind at the zero hour. Why? The publisher of the second- choice text offers the department a videodisk player if they adopt the...

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