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There are a lot of geology books on the market for people to choose from, covering topics which vary from scholarly discussions of fossils found in particular geological strata to topical books which are designed to familiarize travelers with the geology of a particular area. There are a number of things to think about when choosing geology books which will help people make the right decision. Since specialty books can be quite costly, it's a good idea to avoid making a mistake.
The first thing to consider is what the book is being used for. If a geology book is being purchased for a geology class, for example, it's a good idea to start with the books which are listed as required or recommended reading. Students who want to explore additional topics can also ask their instructors for recommendations on specific geology books which might be interesting or beneficial to read. Many geology teachers and professors are happy to provide their students with recommendations, because they want to encourage students to get involved in geology.
If geology books are being purchased as a general reference for someone who is traveling or wants to learn more about geology, asking the staff at a bookstore can be a great way to choose the best books. Bookstore staffers are usually very knowledgeable about their stock, and if they don't know which book to recommend, they will find another staffer who can help. In cases where a book on a specific topic in geology is needed, bookstore staffers can also help, or it may make sense to contact a geologist to ask for recommendations.
Another good source for recommendations on geology books is trade journals, which may include book reviews. People can also research reviews online, looking for reviews on geology sites and reading the reviews on websites which sell books and invite user feedback. Other things which can be used to guide a purchase include searching for specific authors, such as experts in a particular field of geology, or specific publishers who are well known for producing good geology books. As a more general rule, university presses tend to produce the most high quality geology books, although they can get highly technical. Another source for geology books is the bibliography in other books; if a book is particularly interesting or useful, books listed in the bibliography as sources and inspiration may also be good choices to read.
When evaluating potential geology books, people may also want to think about the date of publication and the dates of any revisions. While geology is not necessarily a rapidly evolving field, people are always discovering new information, and once widely-accepted ideas in geology may not be as popular today. A book published in the last 20 years, for example, can generally be a good source, while geology books published 100 years ago may be more interesting as historical curiosities.