Textbook & Academic Authoring and Publishing Industry News Roundup: October 2023

Right-Wing Textbook Publisher Teaches ‘Stilted Version’ of Past

An October 12, 2023 article in TIME’s Made by History by Adam Laats, a Professor of Education and History at Binghamton University, “The Right-Wing Textbooks Shaping What Many Americans Know About History,” shares how conservative textbook publisher Abeka, whose textbooks are mainly used in private schools and homeschools, have influenced what some Americans know about American history and how those versions of history are “gaining steam.” Read More

One Textbook Author’s View on ChatGPT

In an October 23, 2023 article on Genetic Literacy Project, “Will AI make biology textbook authors redundant? Here’s one author’s view of CHatGPT,” by biology textbook author Ricki Lewis shares her experience using ChatGPT and whether it could replace her as a textbook author. Could ChatGPT write a textbook like hers, she doesn’t think so. Read More

TAA Members Weigh In On the Value of Association Benefits

To help guide planning for the association’s future, TAA recently surveyed members about their primary reasons for joining, what their most valuable member benefits are, and what benefits they think the association should begin offering. Of the 1,953 members surveyed (representing those who have agreed to receive emails), 77 responded.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said that their primary reason for joining TAA was to receive member benefits and services, and 30% said it was ”to network with other textbook and/or academic authors.” Seventeen percent of respondents said they joined for another reason.

Jean Murphy Receives $1,000 TAA Publication Grant

TAA member Jean Murphy has been awarded a $1,000 Publication Grant from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association to cover manuscript editing costs for her academic book, A View From The Balcony: Opera Through Womanist Eyes Praxis for Developing a Balcony Hermeneutic of Restorative Resistance, which will be published by Cascade in early 2024.

“Being a member of TAA gave me access to resources and authors who gave pointers, encouragement, and the incentive to bring this book to completion,” said Murphy. “This grant validates all the time and effort spent to bring it to fruition and certainly assists with the cost of being an author. Please extend my thanks to the selection committee.”

Textbook and Academic Authors Share How They Use Generative AI

In a recent survey of Textbook & Academic Authors Association members about their use of Generative AI, several shared specific ways they use AI in authoring and promoting their textbooks, academic articles, and books.

Textbook Author Stephanie Lenox has used ChatGPT to write a first draft and an outline, to make the writing process more efficient, to improve the quality of her writing, and to create marketing pieces to promote her work. She has also used it for brainstorming, generating titles, summarizing, refining conference proposals, and editing.

“AI helps me take the emotion out of my writing process in order to overcome anxiety and just get started,” she says. “AI helps me move faster on functional writing, such as emails, so that I can concentrate my creative energy on writing that matters. I use AI like I use Wikipedia to get a sense of what is already out there. I’ve used it to generate learning objectives based on a chapter summary or to come up with 10 possible titles for a textbook based on a description I provided. I’ve also used it to identify grammatical issues or logical fallacies in texts and explain what’s wrong and how to fix it. I rarely use it for purely generative reasons because AI tends to be overly enthusiastic in its responses.”