A survey of 403 textbook authors by the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) and digital book pioneer and industry expert June Jamrich Parsons has found that most have the same royalty rates for digital and print. Only 6 percent of respondents reported higher royalty rates for digital versions.
The survey, conducted for the first time this spring as part of a session on digital book publishing by Parsons at the 2015 TAA Conference, was a way to begin to quantify the range of royalties and contract options offered for print and digital textbooks.
Almost half of respondents (47%) have been active authors for more than 25 years. More than half of respondents (57%) have been teaching in the subject area for which they write textbooks for more than 20 years. The majority of respondents write in three subject areas: Social Sciences (18%), Natural Sciences (17%), and Mathematics or Computer Science (16%). The majority of respondents have one of three primary publishers: Cengage (31%), Pearson (20%), and McGraw-Hill (14%).
The survey provides insight into several print and digital textbook royalty and contract topics including the highest and lowest royalty rates negotiated for print and digital books, whether royalty rates are reduced when books are sold outside of North America or when sold in bulk or wholesale, and the nature of non-compete and sunset clauses.
The infographic below illustrates the key findings of the survey: