Court Certifies Class of Textbook Authors in Class Action Against Cengage

By Zick Rubin and Brenda Ulrich, Archstone Law Group PC

On September 25, 2023, Judge Andrew Carter of the federal district court in New York City certified a class  of textbook authors in a class action brought against Cengage Learning  (Bernstein v. Cengage Learning, Inc.). The lawsuit alleges that Cengage unfairly apportioned the revenues it received from sales of “MindTap” digital interactive versions of the authors’ texts, arbitrarily  allocating to the authors either 50% or 75% of these revenues and reducing royalties accordingly. In the wake of the class certification, lawyers for the authors can proceed to seek reimbursement on a class-wide basis for the allegedly underpaid royalties. The class may consist of hundreds or thousands of authors, and the total claimed underpayment may total many millions of dollars.

Register for 10/4 Two-Hour Workshop – ‘Efficiency with Style: Revising Your Manuscript at the Macro & Micro Levels’

Fast-writing and “allowing messy drafts” is often recommended as a productivity strategy for academics. But … how do we most efficiently transform the resulting messes into coherent and powerful prose?

Academic Writing Coach Erin McTigue will be presenting a two-hour interactive virtual workshop, “Efficiency with Style: Revising Your Manuscript at the Macro & Micro Levels.” on October 4 from 3-5 p.m. ET. Learn how to take a “messy draft” of your choice and try out three macro-level revision strategies to hone overall logic and organization of the manuscript and then three micro-level revision tools for coherence and writing style. You’ll leave the workshop with both a sequential approach and individual tools for transforming your future drafts with efficiency.

Members Register Here

Not a member yet? Join for only $30

Nominate Your Textbook for a 2024 TAA Textbook Award

Nominations for TAA’s 2024 Textbook Awards is now open. Recognize your textbook today by nominating it for one our industry-respected awards:

McGuffey Longevity Award – to recognize long-standing textbooks and learning materials that have been in print for at least 15 years.

Textbook Excellence Award – to recognize excellence in current textbooks and learning materials.

Most Promising New Textbook Award – to recognize promising textbooks and learning materials in their first edition.

Learn more and start preparing your nomination.

Long-time TAA Member Phil Wankat Goes Back Into the TAA Newsletter Archives and Finds Gold

TAA Member Phil Wankat, who joined TAA in 1989, pored over his archival issues of the TAA Report (now The Academic Author), selected articles that have information that is still valid today, and included commentary on each. We will be adding these articles to the web page, “Articles from TAA Report Archives (now The Academic Author) with Commentary,” over the next few months. The articles are organized into 10 categories, including Authors Needed, Cartoons, Contracts, Ethics, Money, Production, Recognition and Rewards, Software, Textbooks as Scholarship, and Writer’s Block. The first installment is Authors Needed.

Consider Creating a ‘Commonplace Book’ to Inspire, Remind, and Refresh You and Your Writing

A Commonplace Book is a way to compile knowledge important to you. It can become a valued snapshot of you and your interests as you grow in your life and career. I was keeping a Commonplace Book for decades and didn’t realize I was doing it!

Commonplace Books might include quotations, connections to important literature or sources, meaningful articles, key data, journals (personal or professional), your curriculum vitae, and any other centralized information. They are often informal and may sit on your desktop, in the cloud, in your notes program, or maybe even in your In Box.

Don’t Kill Your Chances With a Publisher By Making This Mistake

Kevin Adams, a research engineer at Vanderbilt University and author of over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and three books, including Systemic Decision Making: Fundamentals for Addressing Problems and Messes (with Dr. Patrick Hester), which won 2018 TAA Most Promising New Textbook Award, shares his insight into what can kill your chances with a publisher:

“Technical writing in the engineering field often suffers from insufficient clarity and supporting references, issues that significantly reduce the validity of the author’s notions. Having sufficient and properly cited references improves the reliability of the author’s thesis and gives the reader sources for further investigation. The use of quotation marks and page numbers for direct quotations provide context rich information and reinforce the author’s points in the paper. Properly cited references from scholarly sources that use the modern digital object identifier (doi) ensure that readers can locate and access the reference cited. Peer reviewed scholarly sources prove to be the best cited sources as they have both high reliability and validity.”