Collecting unpaid royalties: Trends, traps, and litigation strategies in textbook royalty enforcement

textbooksMuch has been written about changes in the college textbook marketplace over the last decade. The industry has adapted to new pedagogical methods, the proliferation of digital learning materials, and profitability pressures felt by publishers — all leading to significant innovation in the publication of learning materials. Some observers have concluded that we may be witnessing the death of the textbook as we have known it.

As the textbook publishing marketplace has changed, so too have relationships evolved between authors and their publishers. Commercial arrangements forged in the era of print media — which were amended and extended over time to apply to the publication of new editions — have been impacted by these industry-wide changes. [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…]

Why textbooks need development and why authors should do their own

Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, shares why textbooks need development and why she recommends textbook authors do their own.

Listen to the full interview

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…]

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 5): Key to textbook longevity, preparing for the next edition

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a six-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. The fourth installment focused on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors.

This fifth, and final, installment in the five-part series focuses on the more veteran authors, who share the key to their textbook’s longevity, what they have learned over the years, and their approach to preparing for a new edition. [Read more…]

Q&A: What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?

Q: “What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?”

Author's questionnaireA: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide:

“An author’s questionnaire usually comes from the marketing department to develop leads for reviewers of, contributors to, and especially adopters of your text. I suggest filling it in as completely as possible to make your contacts, colleagues, affiliations, and achievements known to the people who will attempt to market and sell your title. Also include any press (news articles) about you (and keep sending them). List your upcoming opportunities to promote your book, such as guest lectures, keynote addresses, interviews in the broadcast media, academic conventions, professional meetings, webinars, etc. [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 4): What they wish they had known before they started, writing advice

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a five-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book.

This fourth installment in the five-part series focuses on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors. [Read more…]