Publishers love acronyms. They take up less space in their software programs and they are convenient to use in daily conversations. Royalty statements are not easy to interpret. When publishers use abbreviations, it can add to the already confusing task of understanding your statements. To help authors better understand and navigate their statements, here we outline some of the most common abbreviations and terminology.
TAA’s 2021 Conference Call for Proposals Is Open
TAA announces a Call for Proposals for its 34th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference which will be held June 18-19, 2021 in Indianapolis, IN. We invite the submission of presentations relevant to writing, publishing, and marketing textbooks and academic works (textbooks, academic books, journal articles, and monographs). Interactive, hands-on sessions are encouraged. The proposal deadline is October 7, 2020.
What are you not being told?
Your royalty statements only tell part of the story regarding the success of your textbook. Join Juli Saitz, Senior Managing Director, Ankura Consulting Group at 2pm ET on Thursday, July 23rd to understand “5 Things Your Royalty Statements Don’t Tell You“.
The goal of this next session in our TAA Summer Webinar Series is to help authors understand what information is provided by their publishers and help identify gaps in that information.
Ask the Expert: What to look for in publisher-driven ‘new’ textbook contracts
Q: I’m a published author. I signed a textbook contract with a publisher 32 years ago and the first edition of my text was published 30 years ago. It’s since been revised 9 times, all under the original contract, and is due to be revised again soon. Recently, my publisher wrote and said they wanted to sign a new contract for the new edition because the industry had changed, their business model had changed, and the old contract was no longer in step with their current practices. Should I go along with this and sign the new contract?
A: Maybe. . . but not without doing a little homework first. Your original contract almost certainly contemplated that your text, if successful, would need periodically to be revised. What it probably said about this was that “if and when” the publisher thought a revision was warranted, the publisher would call upon you to prepare it. And if you were willing and able to do that, the revision would be prepared and published under the terms of your then existing agreement as if it were the work being published for the first time.
Full results of TAA’s 2020 Textbook Contracts & Royalties Survey now available
In a recent survey conducted by the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA), 27% of respondents reported that their 2019 royalties were 25% or more lower than in recent years. Only 8% reported that their royalties were 25% or more higher than in recent years.
One survey respondent, who writes in the Business discipline for Cengage and has been authoring textbooks since 1985, said: “Cengage Unlimited has had a significant impact on our royalties. We were told that CU would capture more sales (at a lower price point). It has not happened; we are selling (marginally) fewer units, but at a much lower price point.” The highest royalty rate this respondent had negotiated for both their print and digital textbooks was 20% and the lowest was 15%. They also reported their 2019 royalties were between 10% and 25% lower than recent years.
Textbook rights reversion: How to get them back
Most publishing contracts are for the life of the copyright, so how could an author ever get their rights back? In her TAA webinar, “A Second Bite at the Apple: Getting Rights in Your Book Back”, Brenda Ulrich, a partner at Archstone Law Group, discussed the role of reversion clauses in a publishing contract, which allow rights in a book to revert to their authors under certain circumstances.
The issue of rights reversion can confound many authors, said Ulrich, especially as it relates to how broad the grant of rights is in any traditional publishing contract. “It’s a very broad, very wide, very long, license,” she said. “You are giving the publisher permission to publish the book, but you are not signing over the book to them forever.”