If you've ever looked through the comment section on Amazon for health care textbooks, you've probably run across comments such as this one, from "Marty," about a medical coding book she had purchased.
"This book does not contain answers to any of the in-text exercises nor to any of the end-of-chapter exercises. If your goal is to study medical coding in a self-reliant manner, forget about this text. Unless you are formally enrolled in a course in which this is a required text, I would NOT recommend this book. You would have to depend on the teacher for more than just solutions to the exercises in this book."Let me try to explain why publishers might decide not to provide an answer key in a textbook.
For answer keys, publishers and authors basically have three options:
- We can make all answers available to everyone
- We can make all answers available to only to instructors.
- We can make some answers available to everyone and the rest available only to instructors.
If we want the exercises to be used primarily as a learning tool, we'll include some or all of the answers in the textbook. That way students can evaluate their own work.
Analyzing the options
Publishers and authors struggle with those options all the time. If we make all answers freely available, most instructors don't like it because it eliminates their influence on the student's learning and also because students can go right to the answer key and not think about the exercises.
If we make answers available only to instructors who have adopted the book for their course, students don't like it because they can't readily check their work, they have to go back to the instructors.
It's a Catch-22 situation, really, and we just make the best decision we can for each particular book in each particular market.
One more note...
Now, for those readers like Marty, who wanted to learn medical coding but who aren't enrolled in that program, quityerbitchin'. You're purchasing a textbook, not a novel. Textbooks are designed to be used in educational institutions. They're not designed to be used by the lay public. So don't slam the publisher or author for those instances in which answer keys aren't included in the book.
And if you call the publisher to get a copy of the answer key and the publisher says no, that answer keys are for instructors who adopt the book, then maybe you should consider enrolling in an actual health care program. Maybe you shouldn't be trying to learn, say, medical coding on your own, eh?