Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 22, 2020

This week’s collection of articles from around the web is filled with hope and encouragement for writers. Despite many still being locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the posts we found this week explore ways of strengthening writing habits, enhancing productivity and creativity, and recognizing the vast amount of work done by authors beyond the published production counts.

There are resources on self-care, fresh perspectives, and cutting yourself some slack. There are also guides for mixed methods research, issues related to scholarly communication, the problem with enhanced ebooks, and a new milestone in open access publishing by Springer Nature.

Especially in uncertain times, it can be easy to focus on the lack of opportunity, the disruptions to our normal way of life, or the seemingly insurmountable challenges we face, but if we choose to do so, we can find hope and encourage ourselves to explore new perspectives for even greater results ahead. Brian Tracy suggests that you “Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do.” 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!

Can I help you in any way? Self-publishing

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.  

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about self-publishing.

Re-engineering the modern textbook: A conceptual shift from content delivery to learning design

Textbooks have historically provided the core content from which teachers develop and deliver learning experiences to their students – a static, paper manuscript delivering conceptual knowledge and exercises to reinforce the material. As mobile technology has provided alternative ways to access and read content in electronic form, most textbooks have been distributed in an e-book format (commonly ePub or PDF) as well, but is this “new” format providing any benefit to student learners?

Arguably the costs of this paperless format are less; search features can improve the speed at which content can be located; and assistive technology, such as screen readers and magnification tools, can improve the accessibility of the information over the print alternative. But, does the technology improve learning?

Paper or digital? How to decide the format for your monograph or book

A question continues in some stores, “Paper or plastic?” While recyclable bags may make this a thing of the past, other questions continue. Authors continue to ponder whether their book should be a paper copy or an eBook. While this is an important discussion, it should not cause deep thinking.

The obvious answer is both. If a publisher is wise, it will offer a book or monograph in both formats. This is a smart consumer-centric option. Let the buyer decide which they prefer. Let’s discuss, though, each format to see where the market is and the virtues of each one.

E-books, digital rights management, and the first-sale doctrine

There has been much buzz over the last couple of decades about the future of the textbook. Will print books continue to dominate? Will book rentals take a more prominent role? Will the market shift to e-books or to subscription-based access to cloud stored content or to more complex adaptive learning systems? Or will proprietary publishing fade to black as Open Education Resources improve in quality and increase in number?