The Well-Trained Mind, The Essential Edition was pre-announced in August 2023; we anticipate its release in Spring 2024. We have the answers to some of your questions about The Essential Edition. When we have more answers, we'll post them in this FAQ.
If you have a question not answered in this FAQ below, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and write "TWTM Essential Edition" in the subject line so we can record the questions and track down the answers.
Susan Wise Bauer's Announcement, August 7, 2023
This is an pivotal announcement for the Well-Trained Mind enterprise... I am delighted to announce that the final edition of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home - The Essential Edition has been has been scheduled for publication on March 19, 2024.
Here's the scoop!Since the first edition of TWTM came out in 1999, the book and its subsequent revisions (the current edition is the fourth!) have been tied, in format, to that very first edition--meaning that all of the recommended resources (titles, ISBNs, prices, availability, format) have all been printed in the book.
This is silly, and came about before people actually used the Internet (believe it or not, I remember those days.). Resources are always mutating. They go out of print. Their prices change. They get edited (sometimes out of recognition). Innovative new ones come along. And meanwhile, the core of TWTM – how to teach classically – remains essentially the same.
So my wonderful publisher, W. W. Norton, has given Well-Trained Mind Press permission to establish an online database (easily searchable, clear to navigate--more on this very soon) with all of the specific resources we've researched, evaluated, and decided to recommend. This will be hosted at welltrainedmind.com – along with information that changes rapidly (such as college application details). That way we can keep all of the recommendations up to date.
The Essential Edition of The Well-Trained Mind contains all of the teaching strategies and plans – not the specific curricula recommendations. The strategies and plans won't need to be updated! (At least not every five years). You can just use the Essential Edition and pick your own resources. You can ignore the Essential Edition and just subscribe to the database for our recommendations. OR you can use both. It's completely up to you.
I'm sure there will be a lot of questions about this, and I'll provide as many answers as possible, but here are a few FAQs and my (Susan's) responses to start with.
If I own the latest edition of TWTM, do I need the Essential Edition?
If I own previous editions of TWTM, do I need the Essential Edition?
When will the database launch? What will the subscription fee be?
Why is the Essential Edition price set at $45 even though the specific curricula recommendations will be online?
That is a fine question and I am in communication with W. W. Norton about it. The Essential Edition should not have this price point, and I'm hoping we can bring it down. Paper costs have absolutely soared, but since we're moving essentially 1/4 of the book online, we should at least be able to hold the line. So stay tuned for an answer to this one. (Remember that, unlike The Story of the World and First Language Lessons, etc., this book is published by WW Norton, not by Well-Trained Mind Press, so I don't have the authority to make these decisions – I need to work with my publisher.) NB from WTM Press Customer Service: the ebook editions on Kindle and Apple Books are priced at $21.99. (August 7, 2023.)
Questions to be answered
Will The Essential Edition be available in PDF format? What about ebook format? Initial answer August 7, 2023: The ebook is already listed on Apple's Books app and as a Kindle book. Other ebook vendors will also be able to sell the book on their sites.
Will The Essential Edition be available as an audiobook?
Database subscription: will it be an annual or monthly subscription?
Can I recommend or present a product to be included in the recommendations database?
How often will you review the recommendations in the database?