How to create textbook supplements

Karen Timberlake

Karen Timberlake

Chemistry author Karen Timberlake created a website for the seventh edition of her textbook, Chemistry: An Introduction to General, Inorganic and Biological Chemistry (now in its 10th edition) several years ago, before publishers entered the Internet and began adding online materials such as website supplements to textbook packages.

At Timberlake’s website, students can access learning and teaching activities that complement both her chemistry classes for allied health and her Chemistry textbook, including:

CheModules: PowerPoint Tutorials (PPTS) use mini-lectures and short learning checks to actively engage students in learning.

ChemLinks: Web sources related to each of the topics may enhance a student’s study and learning.

LecturePLUS: Chemodules using (PPTS) develop important chemistry concepts for many topics in the allied health and preparatory chemistry courses.

Books: These give more information on the textbook and supplements.

Quizzes: Self-graded quizzes give practice and immediate feedback on topics covered in chemistry for allied health.
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12 Secrets of a prolific textbook author

textbook stackIf you want to become a more successful and productive author, said Marilyn “Winkie” Fordney, the author of insurance billing and medical assisting books, choose a topic that is a first in its field or with little or no competition. Using this strategy and others, Fordney has published more than 50 books, many of which are the leading textbooks in her field. “I submitted my first manuscript to four different publishers and all wanted it,” she said. “Because of this it gave me a little edge in the contract negotiation. First I hired a contract attorney from Capital Records who taught me from the beginning the do’s and don’t’s of negotiating.”

Fordney shares these additional strategies for becoming a more prolific author: [Read more…]

Negotiating the foreign sales clause in textbook contracts

If authors are not careful when negotiating language related to foreign sales in their book contracts, they can end up earning next to nothing on international sales of their books.

Attorney Stephen Gillen said that although he cannot provide exact language authors can use to negotiate the foreign sales clause in their contracts without knowledge of the unique facts and circumstances of each case, he suggests authors use the following to start the discussion with their publisher:

“For sales outside the United States, effected through a distributor, if the distributor is an affiliate of the Publisher, then the royalty to the Author shall be calculated on the receipts of the affiliate at source. For purposes of this provision, a distributor shall be considered an affiliate if it is owned or controlled by the Publisher or if it and the Publisher are commonly owned or controlled.”

Gillen cautioned, however, that although using this language would result in royalties being calculated at the higher retail price (rather than at the deeply discounted inter-company price) it will also mean that royalties are not earned or paid until after the retail sale, which may be much later than the inter-company transaction and may not happen at all if the books do not all sell through.


Steve Gillen teaches Electronic Media Law at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Steve worked for nearly 20 years in publishing prior to entering private practice in the middle 1990’s. He is presently a partner at Wood, Guide to Textbook Publishing ContractsHerron & Evans (a 145-year-old Cincinnati law firm focused on intellectual property) where he concentrates his practice on publishing, media, and copyright matters. Steve is a long-time member of the TAA Council and a regular speaker at TAA conferences.

He is the author of Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts, a step-by-step guide to the key provisions of a typical textbook contract and how to determine what’s important to you so that you can enter into the contract negotiation process better informed. Buy today. TAA members receive discount pricing.

How to track down permission guidelines for Internet images

Q: “I’d like to use images in a textbook I’m working on. What are the copyright issues around using Internet images? Can anything found on the Internet be published? If not, where does one go to get permission? Are there any working guidelines?”

A: Frank Wilson, Professor of Mathematics, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, AZ:

“When I wanted to use an image from weather.com, I tracked down permissions guidelines from the website and requested permission to use the image. Permission was granted and my publisher took it from there. However, due to the difficulty in tracking down permissions guidelines for many online images, I have chosen to select most of my images from commercial stock photo websites such as www.corbis.com. The site has a plethora of high quality images and my publisher is accustomed to working with this company on permissions. Another company is Getty Images.” [Read more…]