Students lead the march toward mobile: Three strategies for adapting and responding

Mobile textbookIt is becoming increasingly clear that students want and need to use mobile devices as a supplement to their print and e-textbooks and LMS course platforms. In fact, many students prefer reading on mobile. Students are leading the market to mobile, and publishers are following. Some authors are working to adapt existing materials to the mobile platform, but in many cases the publisher adapts the material with little or no author input. Authors have a vested interest in keeping up with this transition in terms of the technology opportunities, content quality control, and enhanced marketability of their works. [Read more…]

Cengage ‘will honor all contractual obligations’ with authors under Unlimited model

online libraryCengage’s Chief Product Officer Fernando Bleichmar said the company will continue to honor its contractual obligations with authors under the Cengage Unlimited model, but that the contract they have with authors generally grants them the discretion to publish the work in the way they think best helps drive the sales of those titles.

“We have spent significant time with our internal teams making sure the contracts allow us to do the Unlimited model,” he said. “The contracts are established in a way in which the publishers have the discretion of evolving the model that benefits both the authors and the publisher, and our contracts allow the creation of different models. We are going through all the details in the contracts, having those conversations with our authors to make sure they are comfortable with the Unlimited model as we move forward.” [Read more…]

Authors express concern about new Cengage Unlimited subscription service

online booksCengage’s announcement of a new subscription service, Cengage Unlimited, that gives students at U.S. higher education institutions access to all of the company’s digital higher education materials for $119.99 a semester has Cengage authors concerned about how their contracts will be affected.

“I think the authors should find out as soon as possible how we are going to be paid,” said mathematics author Pat McKeague, who did not receive any information from his publisher about the new service prior to its public announcement, and has not been able to reach his editor for more information. “My contracts require my written permission before any electronic version of my book can be published.” [Read more…]

Open educational resources or traditional textbooks?
3 experts weigh in

Textbook StackAn August 15, 2017 article in the Lansing State Journal, “LCC takes aim at pricey textbooks, offers free course materials”, shared a decision by Lansing Community College to offer students freely available open educational resources (OER) rather than traditional textbooks during the fall 2017 semester. Sixty-four professors in 24 courses will be taking part in the initiative.

The decision to use OER materials, said Regina Gong, a librarian and open educational resources project manager at LCC, was based on the College’s desire to reduce the “cost for incoming students who have to take introductory courses before moving on to higher end classes.”

In a recent discussion about the article in TAA’s LinkedIn group, three experts weighed in on LCC’s OER initiative, answering the question: “How many of you are working at schools considering or adopting this model? Thoughts?” [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 13, 2017

"Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work." ~Amy JoyAs Amy Joy states, “Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work.” While you’re working hard on your writing this week, we’re working hard to keep you informed of current news related to textbook and academic writing. Below you will find articles from the past week on the cost of textbooks, continued efforts to combat counterfeiting, historical research, and censorship issues in academic writing. You will also find writing tips for staying motivated, scientific literature reviews, stylish writing, and advice from Nobel Prize for Literature winners. Continue the discussion in the comments below and this week, write well. [Read more…]

3 ways to illustrate your point in a textbook

Chemistry CartoonAccording to a 2006 cover story in the APA magazine, Monitor on Psychology, titled “How laughing leads to learning”, well-placed comedy in the learning environment has been shown to reduce tension, boost participation, increase motivation, and help students retain information.

In this article, cartoonist Dan Rosandich shares three ways for effectively incorporating cartoons and illustrations into your next textbook. [Read more…]

Creating a companion site for your textbook: What to consider

Companion sites can enrich the learning experience for readers by offering valuable features that can’t be shared on a printed page and/or might be too costly to include in an e-book. There are many factors to consider when planning or developing a companion site for your textbook. In a recent TAA webinar entitled Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials & Companion Sites, Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer, consultant, and founder of Vision2Lead, offered detailed advice for authors interested in creating companion sites for their textbooks. [Read more…]

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…]

2018 Textbook Award Nominations Now Open

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsNominations for the 2018 Textbook Excellence Award (“Texty”), McGuffey Longevity Award (“McGuffey”), and Most Promising New Textbook Award, opened September 1 and will run through November 1.

For more than 20 years, TAA has supported textbook and academic authors through these highly-recognized awards, given annually to emerging and veteran published authors in eight subject categories. [Read more…]

Q&A: How to ensure quality when the publisher is cutting costs

textbook stackQ: How do you work with a publisher to ensure the final product is a quality work even though they are cutting costs?

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide

“The best way to ensure quality of content is to make sure standards are referenced in your contract, e.g., that your manuscript will be professionally edited and indexed. If such provisions are not made contractually, then you should pay for them yourself. Your advance may pay for that, and you may be able to negotiate a higher royalty rate or a grant in exchange, but don’t count on it. Many publishers are no longer investing in the kind of editorial development that makes books commercially successful, except for titles [Read more…]