A fraction less than something? [closed]

I encountered a question which is phrased:

A book store stocks 1/5 of its books as fiction works, and 1/3 less than the fiction books as self-help books. What fraction of books are fiction and self-help books?

I have a problem with the highlighted part. The (1/3) just seems to hang there, without explicitly applying to the number of fiction books.

The solution manual interprets this as:

``````number of self-help books = number of fiction - (1/3 x number of fiction)
``````

Is this question phrased correctly?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, Matt E. Эллен♦, Kris, aedia λJun 14 '13 at 18:38

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think it's like saying, "X is 10% more than Y." It's clear that "10% of Y more than Y" is meant. That said, I do think the phrasing here is awkward. Linguistic imprecision and awkwardness are annoyingly common in math problems, I've found. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 13 '13 at 17:56
I would interpret the phrase the same as the solution manual does. (1/3 less than X) means (X - X/3). – MετάEd Jun 13 '13 at 18:00
The more I look at it, the more reasonable it seems. I just don't know anymore :) – Anirudh Ramanathan Jun 13 '13 at 18:01
@Fumblefingers, I disagree with you only in that 1/3 less than 3 is (3 - ((1/3)*3) => 3 - 1 => 2 and thus the total fraction is 5/15. – Hellion Jun 13 '13 at 18:57
@ DarkCthulhu: You might find it easier if you read it as 1/3 less than the number of fiction books. But the whole idea of stocking [some amount of] books as [some type of book] is a bit weird, to my ear. You normally classify something as [some type], implying you have some degree of choice about what it is. But in the case of a book store, surely the books already have their categorisation before they're even bought in. I don't think stock as works in this context. – FumbleFingers Jun 13 '13 at 19:32