Big Red Logic Books: 2024 plans

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As I’ve noted before, self-publishing seemed exactly appropriate for the Big Red Logic Books. They are aimed at students, so why not make them available as widely as can be? — free to download as PDFs, for those happy to work from their screens, and at minimal-cost as print-on-demand paperbacks for the significant number who prefer to work from a physical copy. I posted reports of how things went in 2021 and 2022, half-hoping to encourage a few others to adopt the same sort of publishing model (though of course recognizing that those in early or mid career need the status points that come from conventional book publication). And I offered to give advice on the nuts and bolts of self-publishing to anyone interested. But response came there none. So I won’t bother to give a detailed report for sales and downloads in 2023. Rather, here are just a few headlines, and some thoughts about what comes next. Taking the books in the order of first publication on Logic Matters:

An Introduction to Gödel’s Theorem (2020: corrected reprint of CUP 2nd edition of 2013). Sales and downloads in 2023 slightly down on 2022 — but still almost 600 paperbacks sold in the year. I’m inclined to leave well alone, as many readers like the book as it is! (No, I’m not making a fortune! — the paperback prices are set so that total royalties are now zero for some books and pennies for others, together approximately covering the cost of keeping Logic Matters online.)

An Introduction to Formal Logic (2020: corrected reprint of CUP 2nd edition). Sales up over 20% at over 1500, downloads up over 55% compared with the previous year. Perhaps two or three more lecturers are using it as a course text. The absolute figures aren’t great, but then there are so many other intros to logic to choose from. There’s part of me that would like to one day write a third edition, or rather write a somewhat different Another Introduction … But whatever happens, I’ll leave this version available and in print, as it would be so annoying for those who have adopted the text if I dropped it!

Gödel Without (Too Many) Tears (2021, and then a second edition in late 2022). I thought that this much shorter book would for many be much preferred to IGT. However, after initially high sales for GWT, there now seems to be a steady pattern of the bigger book having 50% more sales and downloads. Unexpected, but I’m happy for IGT to be doing so well.

Beginning Mathematical Logic (2022) This descendant of the Teach Yourself Logic Study Guide is by far the most downloaded of the books. But it also sold well over 600 copies in paperback in 2023, to my genuine surprise. A considerable success then — but I suppose it is a text without obvious competitors.

Category Theory I (2023) New in August, and monthly sales and downloads already comparable to those of IGT. Again a cheering surprise since I have no standing on this topic, and it is only half a book — where, you might ask, is a finished second part?

So that’s the state of play at the turn of the year. What comes next? Obviously I need to finish the promised Category Theory II. But in fact I’ve changed my mind about what should go in Part I and what in Part II, pulling some chapters on functors into Part I, and moving the elementary discussion of toposes into Part II. The new edition of Category Theory I is on my desk as I write this, waiting to be proof-read. And I hope Part II will be print-ready by the end of February, though I’ll continue posting drafts as I go along.

I then want to return to BML, which needs an end-to-end rewrite (perhaps particularly on first-order logic where I want to rethink my recommendations). But that is going to take some time — a new edition of Beginning Mathematical Logic in 2025, Deo volente? But in the meantime, I ought quickly to do a revised reprint at least to correct a lot of known typos, and to add a page about some books published since early 2022.

That should all keep the grey cells ticking over. Watch this space …

2 thoughts on “Big Red Logic Books: 2024 plans”

  1. Any chance of 2024 bringing us the gift of a new chapter to Gentle Intro to CT volume 2 for monads? Sometimes myself (and I believe others in CS) make self study choices based on whether thats covered.

    Thank you so much for your generous contributions with this for helping us self-studiers! The Gentle Intro has been my go to source along with Paolo Perrone’s CT class notes. I hope to make my way up to Awodey some day.

    1. It is always good to hear that someone has found the CT notes helpful –thanks!

      As for monads: I was in fact thinking of adding a short chapter.

      But I know almost nothing about functional programming, and so I’m not sure how to write about monads (CT style) in a way that would e.g. be helpful to someone thinking about monads (Haskell style). All the same, I hope to have a bash in February sometime!

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