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Metal Working Technology Transfer - Dearth of Used Books

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  • Metal Working Technology Transfer - Dearth of Used Books

    With a day to myself, I visited some local bookshops yesterday
    in search of technical books related to the metal trades. It
    was not a productive outing.

    Although the stores are well stocked with books ranging from the
    common to the bizarre and sometimes even the obscene, their inventory
    of technical/trades/engineering-related materials is nearly non-existant.

    In a community where, until the current generation, there were several
    high schools with strong, well-equipped trades programs and where there
    continues to be a major technical institute, it seems odd to me that
    there are virtually no text books or other technically-oriented publications
    about metal work to be found in the used book market.

    As a staging area for the oil & gas, mining, forestry and agricultural
    industries, a declining, yet still active commercial, military and civilian
    aviation center, not to mention a hot bed for fabrication/manufacturing
    of various kinds, one would think that there would be more used metal
    working and other types of trades/technical/eng books in circulation.

    Mind you, wood butchers have a goodly selection to choose from ...

    .

  • #2
    Hi,

    Well, it seems we never throw anything away. Always something left in that piece of scrap.

    I suspect that between the hording and a general dearth of formal literature makes it hard to find.

    There is a lot of ephemeral material, pamphlets, papers, and flyers that gets accumulated and put on shelves, I know I have a wide and deep selection on my shelves. Such materials seldom find their way into used bookstores. But formal practical books much beyond Machinery's Handbook, are tough to come by. There are more engineering books published than that of course, but there aren't that many engineers that buy and sell them either. And they hoard books just as much.

    And from a trade stand point, much was simply taught on the job and you just learned it. There is a lot of oral tradition in being a machinist. Happens everyday in places just like this. As well on the shop floor. Sadly, there seems to less need for passing information on as time goes by. So we lose even more material that way.

    It's not surprising that you have a difficult time finding stuff in a bookstore.

    dalee
    If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

    Comment


    • #3
      The few used books I can find on the subject are usually impossibly heavy tomes filled with mathematics and almost nothing I can readily understand.


      I suspect this is nothing new, the Romans and other ancient civilisations had significant engineering skills but what records are ever found of their technical learning or reference materials?

      Obviously, poetry is more enduring than how to run your Bridgeport mill.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Artful Bodger
        Obviously, poetry is more enduring than how to run your Bridgeport mill.
        True. "Ode to a Grecian Urn", by englishman John Keats, has endured a long time.
        But probably few people have ever read "Ode to a Bridgeport Mill", by englishman John Stevenson. Wonder why that is?
        Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Artful Bodger
          I suspect this is nothing new, the Romans and other ancient civilisations had significant engineering skills but what records are ever found of their technical learning or reference materials?
          It was quite common for specialized skills to be guarded as "Guild Secrets". I guess secrecy backed by threat of death is better than a patent. As a result, even after the advent of widespread written documents there was little written down for fear that a competitor might use it.

          I think that woodworking is more popular because anyone with a hammer and saw thinks that they can do woodworking. It's sort of true, since so much in woodworking is done to the nearest inch or half inch and it's often 'fitted' after the fact.

          I find that the used bookstores keep what sells, and tosses the rest. I imagine there is not a great demand for metalworking books. The new bookstores are the same.

          Dan
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.

          Comment


          • #6
            Books? What are those?

            You mean everything we need to know isnt on the internet or TV?
            "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

            Comment


            • #7
              I find that the used bookstores keep what sells, and tosses the rest. I imagine there is not a great demand for metalworking books. The new bookstores are the same
              .

              Agreed, and understandable from a "trying to generate revenue" standpoint...IMO it is sadder that libraries most often follow the same path...40x copies of a popular book is not unusual but try to find something more than say Audel's series on various trades [not knocking that series, just saying there is more out there]

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it's just a matter of numbers. Technical books are just not printed in large numbers. The demand for them is outgrowing the availability.

                I also suspect that large numbers have just simply been destroyed. Warehouse space is limited and room must be made.

                My local used book seller does not "toss" any technical books. He has waiting lists.
                Gene

                Comment


                • #9
                  Biggest problem is the rate of change and advancement in the area of the metallic arts.
                  The books go out of date with alarming rapidity.
                  The school districts haven't bothered with collecting old text books from closed shops in 30 years, they didn't even collect the tools, hand tools were shoveled into dumpsters. and if a principals slipped the labors some money, they would bust up the machines and shovel them in to the dumpsters. When the local scrap and machine dealers had there fill of pennies on the dollar as is where is you remove.
                  Used trades books have little to no value as used books the two larger used book stores will not buy them and one will not take them for free as it costs them to to have the dumpsters hauled away.
                  The ones that make it into the store shelves, are the ones that come in with other books they wanted to buy for resale.
                  try the following
                  powells used books have some new and used along with model steam books Great to deal with
                  Lindsay books great for reprints good prices
                  A world library catalog search engine if the library is a member it even will tell you how far away the closet one is
                  Used book search and price comparison from a number of other sites
                  This is another good one for reprints along with their other site for metal arts and other trades
                  Nation Builder books a staple at the NAMES show and other shows Great to deal with
                  Hamilton Books carries some craft and trade type books make sure to read the purchasing info if you want to use a credit card

                  I know the used book biz, As you can see some of my metallic arts books in the welding forum which also has a number of non welding metal related books.
                  Glen
                  Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                  I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                  All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This thread goes along with what I've thought for years. In Canada walk into any Chapters book store and try and find ANYTHING on the shelves about metal working. I find it very suprising and maybe a sad statement about modern society in general that machining and metal working touches every single product in the world no matter what it is including the book store itself and everything in it. Yet nothing about it is avalible in that book store. Every book I have about machining came thru the mail. Some of the books are very good, Some not so much. It would have been helpful to at least thumb thru a book before deciding to buy it. Chapters totall anti gun policy for books or magazines is a form of censorship, But that's OT for this thread.

                    Pete

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Last year I searched one of the largest used book stores in the world, in Detroit. (John King Books) You'd think that they would have been snowed under, but in fact there was very little...I found two books that were on my list.

                      That's two in a stock of > 1 million volumes.

                      I think most of mine came from ebay or flea markets. Here in Australia big cities still have technical bookshops which can be a joy to browse, but not too many giggles at the cash register.

                      Greg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Greg Q
                        Last year I searched one of the largest used book stores in the world, in Detroit. (John King Books) You'd think that they would have been snowed under, but in fact there was very little...I found two books that were on my list.
                        That's two in a stock of > 1 million volumes.
                        Greg
                        That is the two I was referring to in my previous post neither of their locations, would by them. The location in the suburbs, tells people that bring them in if they don't want to take home to dump the books in the free box outside the door.

                        If they are recent editions they would only pay .25¢/.50¢ to $1.00 As the business is so slow in the Detroit area. The manager was giving additional discounts in addition to the 30/40% off list price. and wasn't sure how long they could keep the store open.

                        I had at one time hundreds of sheet metal, machine shop, welding text books. I got tried of being insulted by guys offering me .25¢ for a great condition book that was marked $2.00.

                        You have to understand that text books are generally printed on clay coated paper. Which even 25 years ago wasn't accepted for recycling. So it was basically land fill fodder or fuel for a boiler.

                        And 35 years with a major school district I burned tons of text books new and used. Along with library books that were removed because they were not culturally relevant too today youth. Meaning Hardy boys,Nancy Drew types and silly sci fi.

                        It wasn't cost effective to have sales and transport the materials to a central
                        site. Since they couldn't sell them for more than it would cost in manpower alone.

                        Same reason they stopped selling used tools and equipment form the shops they closed. Not cost effective, along with a non profit that went to court so they could get first refusal on everything the district was going to sell. The district said fine we will no longer sell anything.

                        I was glad that I was working at the warehouse and able to buy some equipment be for the do gooders screwed everything up.
                        Glen
                        Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                        I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                        All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The place on Woodward had zero when I checked there...lots of self-help and fiction though. In a perfect world you would be able to go to the Greenfield Village gift shop and buy Henry Ford Tech school reprints.

                          I still go to Detroit every year or so, but I always leave depressed.

                          Greg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Let's hear it for Powell's

                            Originally posted by PTSideshow
                            I'm glad someone mentioned Powell's. I second the 'Great to deal with' above. They will keep your request on file & if the book you are looking for arrives, notify you via e-mail. I've picked up a few this way even after forgetting I had asked for them.

                            A few years ago my wife had to go to Portland, OR, for business & I tagged along. We discovered Powell's then.

                            I believe it was a department store years ago. 5 floors, 60,000 square feet & all catalogued so they can tell you in an instant if they have something & where it is.

                            We have a used book chain in AZ & it's frustrating that no data is entered into any retrievable form. Great way to spend a day browsing though.

                            Anyway, back to Powell's. I asked for some technical book & they looked it up found they didn't have it.

                            Now the punch line.

                            The clerk asked if I had checked their technical book store.

                            Turns out they have another entire (smaller) building about 5 or 6 blocks away dedicated to technical books.

                            IIRC, they don't have the same searchable data base, but it's a gold mine nevertheless.

                            I just wished they sold wheelbarrows.
                            Best wishes to ya’ll.

                            Sincerely,

                            Jim

                            "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

                            "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

                            Location: Bustling N.E. Arizona

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Used book shops in Australia by contrast vary widely. For some reason I drifted into a local one about ten years ago as they were unpacking a shipment from a New York university library. I now own bound books of measured drawings of Georgian architectural details of some of America's finest homes. For probably about the original 1913 cost of printing. Does that strike anyone as just wrong?

                              For any cheapskates here (don't ask me how I know this) try http://library.nu for free downloadable books. They have millions of titles in PDF form.

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