The new edition of Essentials of Glycobiology, ” the largest, most authoritative volume available on the structure, synthesis, and biology of glycans (sugar chains), molecules that coat cell surfaces and proteins and play important roles in many normal and disease processes” came out yesterday. What’s particularly interesting about this edition is that it is simultaneously being released online in a freely accessible version, which will hopefully allow the textbook to reach a wider audience.

The theory often espoused is that online release of books leads to higher sales of the print edition, and for us, this is a good test case. Quoting from the press release, John Inglis, Executive Director and Publisher of CSHL Press notes that,

“We will be tracking its usage and how readers of the site respond to the availability of a print version, for both research and teaching purposes.”

“This is an innovative development in the distribution of an established textbook that we hope will benefit readers, authors and editors, and the publisher,” says Ajit Varki, M.D., the book’s executive editor and a leader of the Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, which initiated the project. Varki is Professor at the University of California, San Diego. The Consortium also includes Professors Richard Cummings, Emory University; Jeffrey Esko, UC San Diego; Hudson Freeze, Burnham Institute for Medical Research; Pamela Stanley, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York; Carolyn Bertozzi, UC Berkeley; Gerald Hart, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Marilynn Etzler, UC Davis.

The online edition of Essentials of Glycobiology can be found here, and the print version can be ordered here.

Laudatory comments on this edition from Nobel Prize winners are below.

“The basic principles of glycobiology are clearly articulated in this volume, and the roles of complex carbohydrates in disease are an important read for all biomedical scientists.”
—Peter Agre, M.D., Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2003

“Essentials of Glycobiology is a major resource for understanding these post-translational biochemical reactions that affect the function and fate of proteins produced by the genes that are profoundly changed by their added sugars.”
—Baruch S. Blumberg, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1976

“The second edition of Essentials of Glycobiology, superbly printed and illustrated, develops in simple and absolutely precise terms the complicated intricacies of glycobiology. I would have killed to get this encyclopedic treatise 40 years ago when I was working my way through this field.”
—Edmond H. Fischer, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1992