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6 Benefits of authoring stand-alone textbook supplements

Authoring a textbook supplement can be an attractive alternative to authoring a traditional textbook, says Paul Krieger, author of a four-book Visual Analogy Guide supplement series with Morton Publishing. He shares six benefits to authoring stand-alone textbook supplements:

    1. Stand-alone supplements are optional, which leads to potentially more adoptions. Some instructors recommend them, others require them, and those recommendations lead to a lot of sales. He says he sees an additional 10 percent sell-through when his book is recommended rather than required.
    2. Costs are lower, which leads to more sales. His books sell for between $26 and $52 depending on the number of pages.

      Cover of the 5th edition of Krieger’s “A Visual Guide to Human Anatomy”, featuring coloring activities.
    3. The consumable nature of stand-alone supplements means no used book sales driving profits down. His supplements are three-hole drilled and shrink-wrapped.
    4. Freedom to develop a unique product. That uniqueness means more interest and less competition than authoring a major textbook.
    5. Since his books are activity-based, they are more fun and more popular with students. Krieger’s books include coloring pages, fill-in-the-blanks, and lots of white space, which invites students to write out terms, scribble down notes, and overall make the book their own. His coloring activities are the key driver of more in-print sales, he says: “It’s why I made a conscious decision to put coloring activities on the cover of the fifth edition of my human anatomy supplement.”
    6. Stand-alone supplements require a lighter workload. Krieger’s books are on a 4-year revision cycle, include no ancillaries, text banks, course management, etc.

    Attendees of TAA’s 2021 Virtual Conference can watch Krieger’s session, “Think Small! How Authoring Stand-Alone Supplements with Small Publishers Could be Your Niche”, on demand here.

    Kim PawlakKim Pawlak is TAA’s Director of Publishing & Operations. She has been writing about textbook and academic writing and publishing for more than 25 years.