Analog contracts in a digital world

Shaking hands over a signed contractCollege level textbooks and their publishers have been in the news a lot lately, with all of the major higher education publishers emphasizing a shift to a digital first market strategy. The vast majority of publishing agreements for established textbooks were written in a world where print books were the dominating market offering. As the world shifts, there are certain contractual provisions to be mindful of when evaluating one’s royalty statements and in negotiations over amendments.

In reality, print sales still dominate, but publishers are trying to move away from the model, and the future of higher education materials is uncertain. [Read more…]

President’s Message: The shifting landscape of textbook publishing

Laura FrostAs many of us return to campus for the fall semester, it may be time for both textbook and academic authors to take a look at what our institutions are doing regarding textbook purchases and costs. Is your campus offering Cengage Unlimited or signing up for Pearson’s Inclusive Access? With Pearson’s recent announcement this past July that it will also be “moving from ownership to subscription based access models”, several of the major publishers have now committed to digitally transforming their businesses into something more akin to Netflix than what authors have been used to (DVD purchases).

It only takes a few hours of internet research to discover that the publishing industry is only doing what consumers want—lower textbook prices—and hoping that the investment will be worth it in the long run. After losing out to rentals, piracy, and OER models, publishers are lining up to recollect on their own investments. But where does this leave their authors? [Read more…]

How might the McGraw-Hill and Cengage merger affect authors?

Are you wondering what the recently announced merger between textbook giants McGraw-Hill and Cengage could mean for authors? Join publishing attorney Steve Gillen and textbook author and Monroe College professor Karen Morris for their session at TAA’s 32nd Annual Conference entitled: “Mergers and Acquisitions Among Publishers: Authors Need a Life Jacket.”

Gillen and Morris will discuss the recent history of consolidation in educational publishing. How does it impact an author’s career? What can you do to prepare for the possibility? What should you do if it happens to you? What options exist if new relationships don’t go well? Get answers to these and related questions, and ideas on how to survive well. [Read more…]

Just two weeks left to register early and save!

Early registration for TAA’s June Conference ends April 15. All rates increase by $50 after that date. Join us in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15 and prepare to be inspired!

TAA’s conference program features three writing tracks:

Academic Writing Track: Learn tips on how to plan your writing projects for maximum productivity; create writing that is clearer, better organized, and more compelling; revise at the macro and micro levels with efficiency; safeguard your scholarship; get started with conducting and writing systematic reviews; use qualitative coding to enrich data analysis; collaborate more effectively; and more. [Read more…]

Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference to feature sessions on contracts and royalties

TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference speaker and mentor panels will feature several publishing industry professionals with expertise on topics such as intellectual property, copyright, publishing contracts, and royalties. The conference will be held in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15, 2019.

Intellectual property attorney Brenda Ulrich, a partner at Archstone Law Group PC, will kick off the conference with a session titled “Legal Issues for Independent Contractor Authors and Self-Publishers.” This session will explore legal issues in the “post-traditional publishing contract world.” [Read more…]

Cengage announces launch of new ‘Author Relations Team’

textbooksCengage announces the launch of its new three-member “Author Relations” team, which will be responsible for working with its higher education authors on their business-specific needs and questions related to contracts and royalties.

According to a post on their blog that answered questions posed by TAA last fall, “The AR team will take lead on working with authors regarding royalties across the board. Each author will have an AR rep that they can call directly with questions of that nature.” [Read more…]

1/29 TAA Webinar: Your Royalties: The Devil is in the Details

Juli SaitzJoin us Tuesday, January 29 from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Your Royalties: The Devil is in the Details,” where presenter Juli Saitz, Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group, will give a brief overview of key clauses in publishing agreements and discuss specific contract clauses that affect royalty calculations and payments. She will also examine the same clause with slightly different language for two hypothetical contracts and then present how the royalties differ under each scenario.

Register today! [Read more…]

Royalties: Past, Present, and Future

Royalties PresentationWhat does the word “royalty” mean to you as an author? In their presentation, “Royalties: Past, Present, and Future” at the 31stAnnual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, royalty auditor Juli Saitz of Ankura Consulting Group, and veteran publishing insider Sean Wakely of FlatWorld, discussed the history and anticipated future of textbook author royalties.

In a traditional author-publisher relationship, the publisher is providing financial capital and the author is providing human capital for the development and publication of a book. The negotiation of royalty payments from the sales of the book determines how the profit from such sales is divided. Consequently, the royalty model represents a shared risk between author and publisher and also a shared reward – especially when a title is successful. [Read more…]

3/7 TAA Webinar: ‘Royalty Disputes: Legal Strategies in Pursuit of Information and Payments Due’

Juli SaitzDavid SlarskeyJoin us Wednesday, March 7 from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “Royalty Disputes: Legal Strategies in Pursuit of Information and Payments Due”, presented by dispute resolution lawyer David Slarskey and royalty auditor Juli Saitz. The two will discuss the challenges associated with getting reliable information from publishers, the state of the law for authors seeking access to data, and negotiation and legal strategies for pursuing recoveries while protecting relationships.

[Read more…]

Cengage ‘will honor all contractual obligations’ with authors under Unlimited model

online libraryCengage’s Chief Product Officer Fernando Bleichmar said the company will continue to honor its contractual obligations with authors under the Cengage Unlimited model, but that the contract they have with authors generally grants them the discretion to publish the work in the way they think best helps drive the sales of those titles.

“We have spent significant time with our internal teams making sure the contracts allow us to do the Unlimited model,” he said. “The contracts are established in a way in which the publishers have the discretion of evolving the model that benefits both the authors and the publisher, and our contracts allow the creation of different models. We are going through all the details in the contracts, having those conversations with our authors to make sure they are comfortable with the Unlimited model as we move forward.” [Read more…]