In a moment of weakness, I agreed to review this textbook for JAMA. This required me to actually read it, something I probably should have considered before I said "yes" to the assignment.
I can’t paste my review here (I’ll link to it when it is published), but I can say that I truly liked this textbook: very readable, makes ample use of tables, figures, and bulleted lists, and the authors have (mostly) not succumbed to the temptation to drown the reader in exhaustive or excessive detail. So the book is, as advertised, very practical. I’m going to recommend it to our ID fellows, and keep a copy for the infection preventionists as well. There is an E-book version that is much cheaper than the hard copy, but my reading of the Adobe Digital Editions website leads me to believe that it is not viewable on either the Kindle or the iPad (which, if true, is a major limitation—Eli, do you know if you can read an Adobe Digital Edition E-book on iPad?).
The review got me thinking about how rarely I ever pull textbooks off my shelves or even access them online. I wonder if the days of the textbook, even the electronic text, are numbered. Not only are there many other sources to turn to for information, but the financial woes of most academic medicine departments no longer allow for professional activity that isn’t linked to some “revenue stream”. So everything except patient care, grant writing, funded research, or reimbursed service activity is de-emphasized. Writing a good book chapter can be a huge time-sink, and the reward for doing so is very small.