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…]

How to part with your publisher when your textbook goes out of print

Textbook ResearchDuring the 2017 TAA Conference session, “Wanna Get Away? Maybe Now You Can: Parting with Your Publisher,” intellectual property attorney Stephen E. Gillen, a partner at Wood, Herron & Evans, said that one event that can open the door to parting with your publisher is when your textbook goes out of print.

When and how your textbook goes out of print is governed by your contract, said Gillen, which means it’s best to think about these situations in the early stages of negotiating your publishing contract. “They [your publisher] are probably going to be more inclined to make changes in that language in the beginning than they would be somewhere along the way,” he said. [Read more…]

Call for Proposals: Textbook and academic authoring conference

TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference will be held at La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, NM, June 15-16, 2018. The conference is attended by authors and aspiring authors of textbooks, journal articles, and other academic works, as well as by industry professionals from across the country.

TAA invites the submission of presentations relevant to authoring and publishing textbooks and academic works (journal articles, books, and monographs). [Read more…]

Major educational content providers and distributors join together to fight counterfeit textbooks

Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson have joined forces with distributors Ingram and Chegg, Inc. to have them adopt and implement a set of Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices designed to address the growing problem of counterfeit print textbooks. The Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices are intended to assist distributors with combating counterfeits of print textbooks that hurt students, educators, publishers and distributors. [Read more…]

4 Higher education publishers team up to fight counterfeit textbooks

Stop Counterfeit TextbooksIn an effort to fight counterfeit textbooks, four higher education publishers, Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, have teamed up to create a website called Stop Counterfeit Textbooks.

The site includes information on how to avoid counterfeit textbooks, how to identify a counterfeit textbook, and what to do if your textbook is counterfeit. The website states: “Counterfeit textbooks are a substantial problem in the educational marketplace, burdening students with inferior products; exposing distributors to legal liability and unsaleable inventory; and depriving authors and publishers of the funds necessary to reinvest in new educational content.” [Read more…]

3 Novice textbook authors share lessons learned

Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

(l to r) Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

At a 2017 TAA conference session, entitled “So You Want to Write a Textbook? Lessons Learned and Advice Sought,” moderator Laura Frost, a veteran chemistry textbook author, interviews three novice writers, Brent Blair, Dave Dillon, and Rick Mullins.

Brent Blair is an Associate Professor of Biology at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Environmental Science: Ecology and People, for Oxford University Press. Dave Dillon is counseling faculty and an Associate Professor at Grossmont College and is authoring the second edition of his textbook, Blueprint for Success in College. Rick Mullins is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Organic Chemistry: A Learner-Centered Approach, for Pearson Education. [Read more…]

Creative self-help for textbook authors

In her 2017 TAA Conference session, “Creative Self-Help for Textbook Authors”, Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, shares practical advice and models a creative problem solving approach that you can customize to create your own useful tools for success in your textbook enterprise. Watch the full presentations on demand. [Read more…]

TAA Council passes resolution on textbook counterfeiting

Don't buy counterfeit textbooksThe TAA Council has passed a resolution on textbook counterfeiting that details a variety of actions the association will be taking to combat the issue, including educating the public about the problem, and broadening understanding of the negative ramifications of the use of counterfeit copies.

Counterfeit textbooks are “affecting the textbook marketplace and causing substantial losses of revenue for publishers and of royalties for authors and driving up the price of textbooks,” the resolution states. “Appropriate compensation for the work of textbook publishing is essential to ensure that both publishers and authors can continue to deliver excellent educational resources.” [Read more…]

Cengage print materials to include certification seal to fight counterfeiters

CengageBeginning with shipments currently underway to on-campus, off-campus and online retailers, Cengage print products will include a unique certification seal developed by an expert third-party certification company. The seal includes a QR code and one-off indicators that verify the product’s authenticity. Cengage estimates that counterfeit course materials cost the company between $70 million to $100 million annually.  [Read more…]

Trade vs. textbooks: 6 Key takeaways from my experiences

Competency Based Education in Aviation

Suzanne Kearns’s trade book, “Competency-Based Education in Aviation”, published by Routledge

Suzanne KearnsI am the author or co-author of three books. A textbook with a vanity publisher, two trade books with an academic publisher, and an upcoming introductory textbook.

My first book was the result of a publisher’s agent knocking on my office door and asking if I would be interested in writing a textbook. All the publisher asked was that I would require the book within my courses and sign away the copyright. I was excited to get started, so I barely even read the publishing contract. I now know this experience epitomizes that of working with a vanity publisher – the goal is to generate some revenue rather than produce the ideal product.  The textbook ended up being an effective tool within my course, but it wasn’t adopted anywhere else. [Read more…]