Philosophy and Ethics

This blog follows up issues and ideas from my website: Philosophy and Ethics.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Kindle, pdf or web? What's best for an educational textbook?

I would appreciate your advice.  Religion and Science, one of my textbooks for A-level students taking papers in the Philosophy of Religion, has gone out of print.  Published in 2001, with a second edition in 2008, it sold 10,840 copies but, unlike Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics and Ethical Theory in the series, this book was always a supplementary text, and its sales started to decline. It was also rather expensive.

However, there are plenty of schools still using this series, and I'd like to enable to book to be available for students and others.

I have three options:

1) I could simply produce it as an e-book for Kindle, selling at £1.53.  However, I know that some people feel strongly that Amazon is taking over the publishing world and they'd rather avoid having anything to do with it. I don't happen to be an anti-Amazon person (I find what they offer - particularly for those of us who do not live near a suitable bookshop for what we need - has become a necessary and very convenient part of life) although I do regret the overall impact this is having on the rest of the publishing world. However, whether on a Kindle or using the Kindle app on any computer, producing Religion and Science as an e-book probably the easiest way to read the book. But is that the best format if you are using it with groups of students?

2) I could make it available as a pdf download. That would make it easier to photocopy sections for teaching. I am, however, a little concerned about the re-use of free pdf downloads for reasons I won't go into here.

3) Or I could simply make the whole book available on my website, from which people can cut and paste what they need for teaching purposes.  The advantage of this is that the book can be updated at any time, and its discussions (e.g. on Evolution, or Miracles for example) can be linked to other good material available on the web or in published form.

So - particularly those of you who are RS teachers, or lecturers in Religious Studies - which would be most useful for you? Kindle, pdf or web?  I'd genuinely like to know what you think about this as I prepare the text for the new digital edition.

In whatever form, the book will be available by the end of October.  If you would like to see more about the book, just go to my website page by clicking here.

So, please, let me know what you think!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

New review of Buddhism: key ideas

Having posted a review of the earlier printed edition last week, here's another one - this time of the new Buddhism: key ideas e-book - posted on Amazon.  And it's not by me (or any relative, employee etc etc - you know how it goes) in case you're suspicious!


5.0 out of 5 stars Very good guide for non-Buddhists 18 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a very good guide for anyone who knows little or nothing about Buddhism and wants to know more, but who also wants to avoid getting bogged down in its often obscure terminology (Avalokiteshvar and Dhammachakra, for example). Mel Thompson - who normally writes on western philosophy - has created a sort of ABC for the Middle Way, the path advocated by Buddhists. He succeeds in explaining very lucidly Buddhism's essential teachings in separate but linked sections, which are cross-referenced. This means they can be easily referred to as you read - essential for those who may know nothing of the subject. Thompson's triumph is to make this noble but sometimes misunderstood religion readily explicable to western readers, whether they are students of Buddhism or simply reading out of curiosity. The book is quite short but so clearly written that it does not need to be longer. It's well worth the modest price.


It's available in Kindle format (for which, of course, you don't need to have a Kindle - just download the free Kindle app) for only £1.53 in the UK, or $2.99 in the USA.  To get your copy, click on one of the links on the right.

Or to see more about the book, just go to the page on my website page by clicking here.  Go on! 

Buddhism: key ideas - an old review.

Here's an old Amazon review of the original printed version of my new e-book  Buddhism: key ideas from someone taking A level Religious Studies, posted shortly after the book appeared.

Honestly, I didn't write this myself, but could not wish for better!


'I was having trouble getting my head round many aspects of my Buddhism A-Level but as soon as I read this book it all became clear. It is a match between a dictionary and a text book, it only tells you the things you really need to know. I could not reccommend it enough to anyone who is either studying the subject or thinking of becoming a Buddhist.'

The new e-book includes all the content of the original, edited, with illustrations added and with comprehensive cross references between the key ideas.  And it's available now for only £1.53! (or $2.99 if you're in the USA)

To see more about the book, click here to go to the relevant page of my website.

Or to see it on Amazon in the UK or in the USA click on one of the links on the right.