Need Help Searching For Book…

Ugh… Ok, getting a little frustrated. I got approval (LOL) from my other half that I can buy a copy of the Gregg Simplified Functional (2nd Edition) manual…

But, man it’s almost impossible to know if you’re looking at the correct book while searching through all these site like AbeBooks, eBay, Amazon, etc. etc… All these sellers seem to just post generic info about the book so I’m hesitant to buy one because I don’t want to get the wrong one and then have to pay to ship it back (would probably end up costing more than the book itself). And of course there usually isn’t any photograph of the book. Per that document that was recently posted here with pictures of all the book covers, the Functional Method Second Edition has a green cover not a brown one (that’s the non-functional one).

If anyone here has a spare minute who thinks they may be able to find a seller who is selling the Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified Functional Method Second Edition I would greatly be in your debt 🙂

Thank you in advanced if anyone can assist.


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  1. The second one is soooo tempting … but my problem is lack of time, not lack of books or guidance. Or maybe too many competing projects.

    Or maybe lack of discipline. I have the Anni Teachers' Manual (downloaded from here), so have a feel for the daily lesson plan and how fast to build speed, but keep skipping the daily drills and reading, and going right to building speed on each passage. My results show it.

  2. I am happy I was able to go ahead and order a copy of the Simplified Functional manual yesterday evening. Not sure if it is 1st edition or 2nd edition or if there is only one edition. I don't recall at the moment. But, I'm looking forward to having another simplified book for my studies and my collection. Thanks to everyone who helped. I used Escritora61's link in post #2.

  3. Well my Simplified Functional manual arrived today and was extremely disappointed in the condition it was in. The bookseller rated it as "good condition with minimal wear" but once I opened it up and started flipping through the pages there was (obviously from a child) red ink scribbled all throughout the pages of the book. I went back to AbeBooks and clicked on the request a refund button. I understand I only paid a $1.98 for it (plus $3.something in shipping) but don't really want a book with red scribbling ink throughout the plates. And further more it was the 1st edition (the gray cover) and not the 2nd edition (green cover) that I was hoping for. So hopefully they will pay for shipping it back and refund my money so I can continue to search for the book that I really want.

    If anyone has any other ideas on how to secure a green 2nd edition copy in good condition I would be very grateful.


    1. That is disappointing. I followed the link I gave you, and the top link on that page has a list of books of the 2nd edition. You have to scroll down and choose one that is 1955 date and (to be safe) matches the isbn number I put on the link. Which bookseller did you order it from? Some of the booksellers have more than one copy, so they may be able to just do an exchange for you. About a year ago, Better World Books sent me a book without the cd, and they fixed it right away.

    2. They once sent me an Anni manual rather than Simplified. They refunded the money rather than pay shipping back.

      Unfortunately, $1.98 won't pay for accurate entry into the inventory database, nor will it pay for a stock-picker who actually reads the titles. After enough of that, the inventory and stock will be so far out of sync that the pickers will just give up. Sad commentary on our culture's emphasis on offering the lowest price. Unfortunately, paying more won't guarantee better service.

    3. Yes, Cricket, that's happened to me. too. Amazon sent me the wrong edition of Merriam-Webster's, and they just sent me the right one rather than pay for shipping back to them–so I had an extra to give to my daughter. I like it when "mistakes" work in my favor. 🙂

      A few weeks ago I decided to order another copy of the Anniversary dictionary (because I left mine in another state), and BWB mistakenly sent me the older pre-anny edition. I paid such a low price, and I'm actually glad for the mistake, because I wanted this dictionary anyway. BWB has such good sales and doesn't charge shipping; I ordered another Anny Dictionary, so I hope the right one comes this time.

    4. Alright, so the second copy I ordered arrived Tuesday with some other books I had ordered. This time, instead of the Anniversary Dictionary, I received the Anniversary manual with color-crayon and pencil edits by a 5 year old (and one torn out page). So, hahaha. I'm going to try again. It took the full 14 days for my order to arrive, so patience is required.

    5. I suspect large sellers with thousands of books to catalog and store would be more prone to entry and picking mistakes than some with a few books, a few knitting needles, a few … Only a suspicion. Does AbeBooks have a "seller rating" system? (Although, wasn't EBay's system gutted a few years ago, at the request of sellers?)

    6. Even the best warehouses make mistakes. Betterworld books probably uses volunteers or low-paid workers to label and inventory, not librarians–which is about what it would take to keep track of all the editions of Gregg books published before isbn. I have always had good success ordering from them, up until this anni dictionary dilemma–and I got the pre-anni dictionary for less than $3. by mistake. Why complain? (Most used bookstores in Portland won't handle used shorthand books.) the inventory on their website is somewhat of a mess at times. Sometimes their books are listed quite a bit cheaper on partner sites.

      Ebay sellers usually have pictures and quite often actual photos of the book and the copyright and/or title page. The worst problem I've ever had with an ebay purchase, is I once got a book that exuded the aroma of a stale ashtray into the air whenever opened. (For $3., I chose to live with it.) But, I haven't bought a huge volume of books. Just periodic binges–I have less than 20 lifetime ebay purchases.

    7. I don't know what it is about the number 3, but my third attempt to order the Anniversary Dictionary from Better World Books has resulted in receiving the correct book in suitable condition (for about $3. including shipping.) It was published in 1937 so I don't know if there are any "mistakes" remaining in this printing. (I searched the blog, but didn't see any reference to any.)

  4. I purchased the book through Slategray Ventures (I think that is their name). I emailed them just to confirm that they will reimburse my shipping costs if they want the book back. It would certainly be easier since the book was only $1.98 that it will cost the company more money to get the book back than what it really is worth (especially due to the poor condition it is in). But, I will wait for their response.

    But, out of curiosity, doesn't all editions of a book use the same ISBN number? It really is quite complicated and a daunting task to try to find the exact book when you're dealing with these old out-of-print books (this is what I'm starting to find out). And like Cricket said, they probably have a whole warehouse full of old books and the data in their inventory system is probably of very poor quality.

    Anyhow, Friday is payday for me and I'd like to try and see if I can still search for exactly the book that I'm looking for.

    Even with the red scribbled ink on the pages I have read through several of the lessons and I must admit I really REALLY like the way the material is presented so far than how it is presented in my non-functional Simplified book. So knowing this makes me really want a good copy of this book.

    I'm sill open to assistance still. I will continue my search for the elusive 2nd Edition of the Simplified Functional manual with the green cover and yellow text 🙂

    Have a great nite everyone!

    1. Yes, I just realized while searching again, that the isbn is useless for distinguishing one edition or version from another. lol. But I think if you scroll down and choose one that says 1955, you have a pretty good chance.

    2. Back to the link…if you go back to that link, item number 30. is supposed to be the correct book–the seller is Better World Books. It shows the date as 1955 so that means 2nd edition, and it has 448 pages, so that means Functional method, because of the extra pages for the transcript.

  5. The publisher buys (licenses?) a group of ISBN numbers from the international group. They're supposed to assign a new number if the text changes, but don't always do it.

    Also, some book sellers (or their staff) don't realize that similar covers and titles can have different ISBNs. They go by the title. Once the database is wrong, the mistake stays, and applies to all books with the same title.

    One option is ask the bookseller to confirm the exact title, and subtitle, and date of printing, before shipping. That's a lot of work for $1.98. (I used to be in QA. It's amazing how many little mistakes aren't worth the time to fix, but keep causing not-little problems. Sigh.)

    1. That isbn# is for the basic manual. My guess is that there is no isbn for the functional method book, because, unlike the regular simplified manual, it has probably not been for sale from the publisher since isbn #s came into use. I don't think isbns came appeared until around the 1980s.

  6. Thanks everyone for your help throughout all this. I got a response from Slategray Ventures and so far have been pleased with their customer service. I received an email today saying to "please keep the book." So, that is one less thing for me to have to take care of. Hopefully it won't take too long to get my money refunded back to my account.

    I will definitely search this weekend for anything that matches a publish date of 1955 and no. of pages of 448 (thanks escritora).

    On three different occasions before purchasing the book that I received I had sent inquiries to the booksellers and I always got the same response about …once it's in our warehouse we are unable to retrieve that information… blah blah blah 🙂 So, I've given up on asking question first before purchasing.

    I'll let ya'll know what I come up with this weekend. In the meantime I'm still reading the functional manual even with the scribbles and answers written alongside the outlines. There's just so much more text in there that it will be fantastic material to learn from. But, one thing that I did notice between the two different books is that when the functional manual got to the first part about brief forms that they don't tell you what each brief form means (unless you cheat by flipping to the back to the answer key). I'm wondering if it might be because back in the day there would have been a teacher explaining what each brief form stood for. Just my two cents worth.

    Sorry for the long post this late at night.

    Hope everyone has a great FRIDAY tomorrow.

    1. It's not cheating. That's what they want you to do. It goes with the educational "method." It focuses on learning shorthand by reading it, rather than getting too acquainted with the mechanics of writing or rules early on. They just want you to associate the brief form with it's outline not the English word. In any case, it's nice to have the transcript in the back, regardless of which educational philosophy is in vogue.

    1. I can't access it. I think it's because you have to go to your google drive and select the item and right click or something and make it available to whoever has the link. I had this same problem awhile back. 🙂

  7. Well, I found it odd, too. Both my Simplified 2nd Edition manual, my Most Used Phrases…, and 1st edition Functional manual were all purchased through the US version of Abe. Honestly not sure how I ended up on the UK site. Like I mentioned earlier, I spent hours scouring the various search engines for the 2nd Ed. FM. But, when you look at the order details it says it's shipping from Illinois I believe. Anyway, I am really keeping my fingers crossed that it's the correct one (green cover with yellow printing).

    I will have the following books in my library:
    o Gregg Shorthand Manual 2nd Edition
    o Most Used Shorthand Phrases…
    o Gregg Shorthand Simplified Dictionary
    o Gregg Shorthand Manual Functional Meth 2nd Edition(*)

    What book in the Simplified system would you think would be appropriate to add to my collection next?

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