Authors express concern about new Cengage Unlimited subscription service

online booksCengage’s announcement of a new subscription service, Cengage Unlimited, that gives students at U.S. higher education institutions access to all of the company’s digital higher education materials for $119.99 a semester has Cengage authors concerned about how their contracts will be affected.

“I think the authors should find out as soon as possible how we are going to be paid,” said mathematics author Pat McKeague, who did not receive any information from his publisher about the new service prior to its public announcement, and has not been able to reach his editor for more information. “My contracts require my written permission before any electronic version of my book can be published.” [Read more…]

The Academic Juggle: Managing Your Writing in a World of Commitments – TAA Webinar 11/9

Jane JonesDo you ever feel like you’re working on a million tasks at once, but not making progress on any of them? As an academic, it’s likely that you are juggling multiple commitments and projects. Even the most determined of us can find ourselves overwhelmed at the scope of our responsibilities. If you find yourself struggling to keep track of your writing amidst all your other professional obligations, you’ll want to join us Thursday, November 9 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “The Academic Juggle: Managing Your Writing in a World of Commitments”, presented by Dr. Jane Jones, academic editor and productivity coach at Up In Consulting. [Read more…]

Open educational resources or traditional textbooks?
3 experts weigh in

Textbook StackAn August 15, 2017 article in the Lansing State Journal, “LCC takes aim at pricey textbooks, offers free course materials”, shared a decision by Lansing Community College to offer students freely available open educational resources (OER) rather than traditional textbooks during the fall 2017 semester. Sixty-four professors in 24 courses will be taking part in the initiative.

The decision to use OER materials, said Regina Gong, a librarian and open educational resources project manager at LCC, was based on the College’s desire to reduce the “cost for incoming students who have to take introductory courses before moving on to higher end classes.”

In a recent discussion about the article in TAA’s LinkedIn group, three experts weighed in on LCC’s OER initiative, answering the question: “How many of you are working at schools considering or adopting this model? Thoughts?” [Read more…]

Promote Your Scholarship via Podcasting
TAA webinar 11/6 & 13

Katie Linder Podcasting is becoming an increasingly popular method of sharing content, but many authors don’t know how to get started. Join us Monday, November 6 & 13 from 3-4 p.m. ET for “Promoting Your Scholarship via Podcasting (It’s Easier Than You Think!)”, a two-part webinar series facilitated by book author and podcaster Katie Linder.  You’ll learn about the tools you need to launch a podcast as well as tips and strategies for how to promote your work through this creative medium. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 13, 2017

"Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work." ~Amy JoyAs Amy Joy states, “Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work.” While you’re working hard on your writing this week, we’re working hard to keep you informed of current news related to textbook and academic writing. Below you will find articles from the past week on the cost of textbooks, continued efforts to combat counterfeiting, historical research, and censorship issues in academic writing. You will also find writing tips for staying motivated, scientific literature reviews, stylish writing, and advice from Nobel Prize for Literature winners. Continue the discussion in the comments below and this week, write well. [Read more…]

3 ways to illustrate your point in a textbook

Chemistry CartoonAccording to a 2006 cover story in the APA magazine, Monitor on Psychology, titled “How laughing leads to learning”, well-placed comedy in the learning environment has been shown to reduce tension, boost participation, increase motivation, and help students retain information.

In this article, cartoonist Dan Rosandich shares three ways for effectively incorporating cartoons and illustrations into your next textbook. [Read more…]

Learn how to design a web presence for your book – TAA webinar Part 2 – 10/17

Katie LinderYour book’s website is the only tool that works around the clock to promote your book, but sometimes the web presence provided by a publisher is… underwhelming. Join us Tuesday, October 17 from 3-4 p.m. ET for part 2 of “Designing a Web Presence for Your Book (Beyond the Publisher’s Website)”, facilitated by book author Katie Linder. You’ll learn how to create a web presence for your book that highlights its key features, bonus materials, purchasing options, and more. [Read more…]

Creating a companion site for your textbook: What to consider

Companion sites can enrich the learning experience for readers by offering valuable features that can’t be shared on a printed page and/or might be too costly to include in an e-book. There are many factors to consider when planning or developing a companion site for your textbook. In a recent TAA webinar entitled Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials & Companion Sites, Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer, consultant, and founder of Vision2Lead, offered detailed advice for authors interested in creating companion sites for their textbooks. [Read more…]

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? [Read more…]

2018 Textbook Award Nominations Now Open

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsNominations for the 2018 Textbook Excellence Award (“Texty”), McGuffey Longevity Award (“McGuffey”), and Most Promising New Textbook Award, opened September 1 and will run through November 1.

For more than 20 years, TAA has supported textbook and academic authors through these highly-recognized awards, given annually to emerging and veteran published authors in eight subject categories. [Read more…]