The author’s life jacket: Surviving publishing mergers and acquisitions

For many veteran authors and publishing industry professionals, like TAA members Karen Morris and Steve Gillen, mergers and acquisitions are not new occurrences in academic publishing. However, in light of recent announcements, including the pending merger of industry-leaders Cengage and McGraw-Hill, many authors are concerned about their own survival options.  

In their 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Mergers and Acquisitions Among Publishers: Authors Need a Life Jacket”, Morris shared her experience as a survivor of mergers throughout her career and Gillen offered perspective on what a merger may mean to the individual author, what they can do to protect themselves, and what to do after the deal is announced.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 6, 2019

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with prompts to stimulate your thinking and methods for finding papers for your literature review. It continues with the importance of validating faculty research, consideration of your timeline for finishing a PhD, and expectations when presenting research to an industry audience. Finally, we have some noteworthy industry news on cost per use value models, the value of the big deal, the Cengage-McGraw Hill merger, and a new textbook model at UC Davis.

Neil Gaiman once said, “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 16, 2019

Mary Lee Settle once said, “I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” Isn’t this the foundation of academic work and writing? To find answers to questions. This week’s collection of articles from around the web share a few answers as well as new questions important to authors.

For those asking about the right tools for academic writing, we may have the answers in our first couple links. Wondering if there is a better way to describe academic writing than the pre-writing, writing, and post writing revision description commonly used, Pat Thomson may have the answer below. Questioning quality criteria in scholarship and science or the liability associated with linking to content on Sci-Hub, answers may await in this week’s collection. We also may have some answers (and even more questions) related to applying for an alt-ac job, teaching research methods, the future of FAIR, and the most recent law suit against Cengage by authors.

The world of textbook and academic writing is filled with questions and answers – some of which lead us to even more questions. This week, challenge yourself to answer the questions you have and to share them through your work. Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 2, 2019

Let me warn you. This week’s collection of posts from around the web has several topics that may not be comfortable for textbook and academic authors. We begin with articles challenging the status quo for academic bios, the value of disability inclusion in the publishing industry, and the approach you take to turn your PhD into a book. More hot topic industry changes, specifically in light of recent announcements of Pearson’s “digital first” initiative and the Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger, also make this week’s list.

The changes to the publishing industry are not new, but in the recent months seem to be coming at a faster pace with greater impact to authors. That said, as you review the articles linked below, remember the wisdom of Roy T. Bennett who said, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” In the coming week, I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort zone in your pursuit of greatness. Happy writing!

Cengage authors begin to receive royalty statements under Cengage Unlimited plan

While some Cengage authors are still waiting for their first royalty statements under the company’s new Cengage Unlimited plan, which, launched in August 2018, offers students access to its database of textbooks and other online content for a flat fee, several have received their statements and shared how the new plan has affected their royalties.

TAA President and Cengage author Mike Kennamer said royalties from CU were included on the most recent statement for one of his three Cengage titles.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 3, 2019

This week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of opportunities. Opportunities to improve your academic reading practice, to tell your story, to make your writing more interesting, to broadcast your research, or to go freelance. It’s also filled with challenges and uncertainty. Challenges of parenting and academia, predatory journals, the uncertain future of university presses, neurodiversity in scholarly publishing, and the affect of the planned merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill on the textbook market.

With each opportunity comes challenge and uncertainty. Equally so, with each challenge or uncertainty comes opportunity. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” So, here’s to success. Happy writing!

McGraw-Hill and Cengage intend to merge

An announcement jointly made by Cengage CEO Michael Hansen and McGraw-Hill CEO Nana Banerjee is sure to raise questions among authors of both organizations. The two entities are planning a merger in 2020 that will, according to the company’s public release, “accelerate innovation and accessibility” and provide “seamless integration across our range of learning sciences, adaptive solutions, and learning tools.”

Cengage says authors cannot opt out of Cengage Unlimited

In a recent post on the Cengage blog, Erin Joyner, the company’s senior vice president of product, said that authors cannot opt out of Cengage Unlimited. However, industry experts say Cengage cannot make this sweeping statement.

“The large majority of publishing agreements do not contemplate the Cengage Unlimited model of distribution,” said David Slarskey, a litigator with Slarskey LLC. “Refusing author demands to opt-out tends to undermine the terms of the contract.”

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 13, 2018

This week we begin with tips for academic book authors, insight into publishing an open access book, discussions on indexes, and the humbling experience of reviewing a copyeditor’s work on your manuscript. We then found insight into developing the narrative of a tenure dossier, social media concerns for academics and writers, issues of authorship abuse, the impact of article recommendation features, and the value of a master’s degree in Publishing. Finally, there were several industry news articles of note including a student’s perspective on Cengage’s efforts to promote Cengage Unlimited to professors, a win for publishers in a textbook counterfeiting suit, a new collaboration between VitalSource and McGraw-Hill, and changes in Top Hat’s OER Marketplace.

Bindu Adai said, “If writing is your passion, write and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. You don’t need to quit your day job to do it. Create a realistic schedule and stick with it.” As you head into a new week of writing, be encouraged by the other authors in and around TAA who share your passion for writing so that you may find greater success.