This is a new development in surgical publishing; the first two editions of the Oxford Textbook of Surgery are to be replaced by a series of specialty- specific textbooks in surgery. This change was precipitated by the ever- increasing size of a single textbook of surgery which embraced all specialties (the second edition of the Oxford Textbook of Surgery was three volumes), and a decision to adapt the textbooks to meet the needs of the audience; firstly, to suit the requirements of Higher Surgical trainees and, secondly, to make it available online. Thus, we have produced a key book to deal with the fundamentals of surgery, such as Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Evaluation of Evidence, and so forth. Then there are to be separate volumes covering individual specialties, each appearing as an independent textbook and available on Oxford Medicine Online. It is planned that each textbook in each specialty will be independent although there obviously will be an overlap between different specialties and, of course, the core book on Fundamentals of Surgery will underpin the required scientific knowledge and practice in each of the other specialties. This ambitious programme will be spread over several years, and the use of the online platform will allow for regular updates of the different textbooks. Each textbook will include the proposed requirements for training and learning as defined by the specialist committees (SACs) of surgery recognized by the four Colleges of Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland, and will continue to be applicable to a global audience. This ambitious programme will be spread over several years, and the use of the online platform will allow for regular updates of the different textbooks. When completed, the Oxford Textbooks in Surgery series will set standards for a long time to come.