E-books, digital rights management, and the first-sale doctrine

There has been much buzz over the last couple of decades about the future of the textbook. Will print books continue to dominate? Will book rentals take a more prominent role? Will the market shift to e-books or to subscription-based access to cloud stored content or to more complex adaptive learning systems? Or will proprietary publishing fade to black as Open Education Resources improve in quality and increase in number? [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 12, 2016

Roses are redAcademicValentines_TAA blog
Violets are blue
‘Revise and Resubmit’
Roses are a prickly bush or shrub
Violets are a herbaceous plant
Watch for more #AcademicValentines on Twitter throughout the weekend—you don’t even need a Twitter account to see all of the hilarious tweets!

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: May 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday is everywhere. If you’re on Facebook, every writer I know has trouble writingI’m sure you’ve noticed that on Thursdays your newsfeed is full of old (often embarrassing) family photos and throwbacks to special moments in your friends’ lives. This week especially I found–and rediscovered–articles posted before the creation of this blog series; some way before its creation. A thought occurred to me: why not include some of those great articles that are still very relevant and just as useful today? So that’s exactly what I did! You’ll find those throwback articles at the bottom of this post.

As always, happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: March 6, 2015

Wednesday was National Grammar Day.talk grammar to me, baby Twitter was abuzz with grammar haikus, pet peeves, and funny cartoons. It’s a day filled with fun to remember all we love, and maybe hate, about grammar. Why you ask is National Grammar Day different than say any other day? No one explains it better than Dennis Baron in his article, “Why is National Grammar Day different from all other days?”

So without going on and on, and in fear of making too many grammatical errors, I leave you to read all the great articles I’ve gathered for you this week. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Why print is still winning

w-onlinereading0221The debate about digital textbooks (etextbooks) and whether they will replace their physical counterparts continues this week with recent findings from the University of Washington. Their study showed that roughly 25% of students who were given free versions of etextbooks still purchased a physical copy of the same book.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

Another survey done by Student Monitor found that 87% of college students purchased their textbooks as physical books, not etextbooks. Moreover, as mentioned in this Washington Post piece, “Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer [Read more…]

Amazon offers new tool for creating etextbooks, Kindle Textbook Creator

etextbooksAmazon has a new tool, Kindle Textbook Creator, to help educators and authors prepare, publish, and promote etextbooks and other educational content that can be accessed on Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets, Mac, and PC.

Kindle Textbook Creator, offered through the new KDP EDU segment of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, can be used to turn PDFs of textbooks and course materials into Kindle books and upload them to KDP in just a few simple steps. [Read more…]

Apple’s iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U Course Manager now available in over 50 countries

Apple® today announced iBooks® Textbooks and iTunes U® Course Manager are expanding into new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere around the world. iBooks Textbooks bring Multi-Touch™ textbooks with dynamic, current and interactive content to teachers and students in 51 countries now including Brazil, Italy and Japan. iTunes U Course Manager, available in 70 countries now including Russia, Thailand and Malaysia, allows educators to create and distribute courses for their own classrooms, or share them publicly, on the iTunes U app. [Read more…]

CourseSmart inks deal to bring e-textbooks to Arab world

CourseSmart®, a leading digital content services company and the world’s largest provider of digital course materials, today announced a strategic partnership with Naseej, the leading knowledge solutions provider in the Arab World. This agreement will provide Higher Education Institutions in the region with access to the largest library of eTextbook resources from over 50 publishers. [Read more…]

Does ‘first sale’ mean fewer sales?

copyrightSoon after the Supreme Court’s decision this past spring in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, a story in The New York Times gave voice to a widespread concern that a doctrine called “first sale” would soon swallow up a U.S. copyright owner’s right to control and limit importation and redistribution of not only textbooks intended for foreign markets but also of e-books not intended for lending (library or personal).

The Kirtsaeng case turned on a contest for priority between apparently conflicting provisions in the Copyright Act – one setting out the “first sale” doctrine and the other dealing with a copyright owner’s right to control importation of copies of their work. The Supreme Court tipped the scales in favor of first sale and interpreted the right to control importation as essentially non-existent for all practical purposes.1 [Read more…]

Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Earlier this fall, TAA hosted an audio conference titled “Contract Negotiation: E-books & E-rights” featuring attorney Lisa Moore, principal of The Moore Firm, LLC. Moore’s outstanding presentation culminated in a rich Q&A discussion that provided valuable insight into textbook publishing contract negotiations.

Following are abbreviated excerpts edited by TAA from the transcripts of that discussion.

Q: When e-rights are granted in a contract, what is the current norm for royalty rates? What are the best e-royalty terms you’ve negotiated for a client or know about in another context?

Lisa Moore: “I will say that 50 percent, whether it’s e-derivatives or verbatim e-reproductions, as I’ll call them, is the best that anyone can get for e-rights. And that’s becoming very, very difficult to achieve for clients — even clients with a proven track record, proven sales of X units, and an extremely wide target audience. [Read more…]