July 1, 2020 Read More
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Association of PEN American Center, Inc. in filing an amicus brief in the case of Robert S. Trump v. Mary L. Trump and Simon & Schuster, asking the Court to summarily reject the request of Robert S. Trump to block further publication and dissemination of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, authored by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and niece of President Donald J. Trump.
The brief argues that “The Supreme Court has, time and again, uniformly made clear the First Amendment’s fundamental role in protecting the publication and dissemination of speech—especially speech critical of government officials—from prior restraint,”and that enforcement of a confidentiality agreement between private parties implicates the First Amendment and its “prior restraint” doctrine, stating that “The First Amendment imposes limitations on the relief a court may grant in disputes between private parties because the Court’s relief is itself state action triggering First Amendment protection.”
The brief can be found here.
June 25, 2020 Read More
Independent Research from Student Watch and Student Monitor Unveiled in New Reports, Video
Average student spending on college textbooks and digital course materials has steadily declined in recent years, according to new data unveiled today from Student Watch, which is funded by the National Association of College Stores Foundation, and Student Monitor, an independent research firm.
In its new annual report, Student Watch reports a decline in student spending on course materials of 35 percent over the past six years, while Student Monitor’s semi-annual report similarly indicates a 39 percent decline over the same time period.
“Students are actually spending less on college course materials than we have seen them spend before,” commented Brittany Conley, Research Analyst, On Campus Research for the National Association of College Stores (NACS). “We saw that students spent about $413 across the academic year on course materials. Ten years ago, that number was closer to $700.”
“Students’ out of pocket spending for learning materials and textbooks continues to decline year after year after year,” commented Eric Weil, Managing Partner, Student Monitor LLC.
The new data on the multi-year decline in student spending is highlighted in a video interview with representatives from the two research organizations, which can be seen here.
Student Monitor Report
Student Monitor’s LIFESTYLE & MEDIA report found that student spending on course materials went from an average of $691 for the 2014-2015 academic year to $422 for the 2019-2020 school year, a decline of 39 percent over a six-year period. The 2019-2020 figure represents a 14 percent decline as compared to the average student spend of $492 during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Student Watch Survey
The most recent Student Watch survey indicated that course material spending dropped from $638 for the 2014-2015 academic year to $413 for the 2019-2020 academic year, a decline of 35 percent over the last six years. The latest figure represents a 0.5 percent decline as compared to the average student spend of $415 during the 2018-2019 academic year.
The 2020 Student Watch survey involved more than 14,000 students across 35 institutions.
The Student Monitor findings are the result of hour-long, one-on-one, on campus intercept interviews conducted among 1,202 four-year, full time undergraduates attending 93 representative colleges and universities.
“Numbers are going to differ in studies like these just based on general methodology,” Student Watch’s Conley said. “What you really want to look at are things like overall trends in where the data's going, what it looks like. And in the case of Student Watch and Student Monitor, we're seeing the overall trends be consistent. Both of us are reporting a decline in course material spending, which is what you really want to look at when you're comparing the two and seeing if they're telling the same story.”
Education publishers understand that students struggle with the overall cost of college and have for years worked to lower the cost of the high-quality course materials they produce while creating increasingly innovative options to access. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution for college course materials that cover a vast diversity of subject areas, but some publishers have addressed affordability by launching online learning solutions such as Inclusive Access, which provide students with discounted materials on the first day of class. Other options, including subscription models, provide unlimited access to a range of textbooks, online homework access codes and study guides all for one price.
“Students have at least 10 different options or combination of options when it comes to deciding what textbooks or course materials they are going to acquire,” said Student Monitor’s Weil. “They can purchase a new printed textbook, a used printed textbook. They can rent a textbook instead of purchasing a printed textbook. They can acquire an e-Textbook for either limited or unlimited use. They can take advantage of one of these new subscription programs providing unlimited access to print and digital for either a single term or the entire academic year for a flat subscription price. From a student’s perspective, nothing could be more convenient than a subscription model that provides you everything that you need at a discounted price.”
“Inclusive Access is a new concept, a new system,” Weil continued. “It offers a lot of promise, a lot of benefits to all concerned. From a student's perspective, what happens is that the student receives all of their digital materials. They're billed for those materials either through whatever financial aid they may be receiving or through their student account and the access to those materials are actually provided before the first day of class. This is really convenient, really adds to the value of the course from an instructors' perspective. It's just an exciting new approach that is more convenient for the student, saves money for the student, increases the value of their tuition dollar. It just makes perfect sense.”
Conley added, “We're really just seeing a large number of things being offered in the course material space. They're all playing a part in lowering that overall cost that students end up having to pay. If we're talking about what's prevalent among all course material options, rentals is something that we see more prevalent. This year, around 40 percent of students had rented at least one course material over the semester or academic term.”
Students continue to embrace a wide range of options for acquiring their course materials: according to the Student Monitor report, the $422 in average student spending during the 2019-2020 school year included $174 for new, printed textbooks; $95 for used, printed textbooks; $67 for rented, printed textbooks; $39 for eTextbooks for unlimited use; and $24 for eTextbooks for limited time use.
Student Watch reports that during the 2019-2020 school year, students embraced a wide range of options, mixing print, digital, rental and purchase. 48 percent preferred some type of print book, while 21 percent of students preferred digital-only content. During the year, 80 percent of students purchased course materials during the year, and 44 percent rented course materials.
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June 19, 2020 Read More
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Dow Jones, The New York Times and The Washington Post in filing an amicus brief in United States v. Bolton, arguing that the Administration’s request to block Simon & Schuster, booksellers and distributors from publishing and distributing Bolton’s book is an unprecedented and unconstitutional prior restraint. The brief asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to deny the Government’s request.
The brief argues that by suing only Bolton, but seeking a broad injunction against Simon & Schuster and countless other non-parties to the case, the Government is attempting an end-run around the seminal Pentagon Papers Supreme Court case in order to censor core First Amendment-protected speech.
“The Government could not have sued Simon & Schuster in this case directly, and served it with injunction papers, without running straight into the legacy of the Pentagon Papers case and the considerable Supreme Court precedent from both before and after that decision that make clear the First Amendment protects the publication and dissemination of speech from prior restraint,” stated the brief.
The brief also notes that the Government’s requested injunction would not remedy any claimed harm from the book’s release, as the book has already been printed, shipped, and reported on by several prominent news outlets.
The brief can be found here. AAP President and CEO Maria A. Pallante’s comment on the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against John Bolton for the publication of his book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir is here.
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June 18, 2020 Read More
Below is a statement from AAP President and CEO Maria A. Pallante regarding the United States Justice Department’s lawsuit against former National Security Advisor John Bolton regarding his forthcoming book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.
“The ability to publish books without censorship or interference is fundamental to free speech, public discourse, and the rights of the governed. These principles are more true, not less, when the author is a former National Security Advisor writing about his experiences at the highest levels of our government.
“It is also true that speech can sometimes be uncomfortable, particularly for those who are its subject. In such situations, the appropriate answer is more speech and more debate, but never censorship or the threat thereof. To suppress the speech of authors and publishers is to suppress our democracy.
“In this instance, we urge the Administration to reconsider its course of action against the author, which interferes with his right to speak, the publisher’s right to publish, and the public’s right to read. This is not to say that the vetting of classified national security information is an exercise that should be undertaken lightly, but rather that such review must be undertaken both judiciously and expeditiously.”
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June 11, 2020 Read More
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for April 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (consumer publications), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
Total sales across all categories for April 2020 declined 3.5% as compared to April 2019, reaching $783.9 million. Year-to-date sales were flat with an increase of 0.7%, totaling $3.4 billion for the first four months of 2020.
Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues:
Trade sales were down 6.6% as compared to April of 2019, coming in at $548.8 million. Year-to-date Trade sales were flat at +0.5%, totaling $2.2 billion for the first four months of the year.
Physical paper formats in the Trade (consumer publications) category saw declines during the month, with hardback revenues falling by 12.9%, Paperback declining by 8.7%., Mass Market down 15.9%, and Board Book revenues dropping 3.2%. Overall, physical formats declined by 11.0% for the month, coming in at $385.6 million. On a year-to-date basis, physical formats were flat, down 0.3%, and coming in at $1.6 billion.
Downloaded Audio continued to grow during the month of April, with an 8.0% increase as compared to April of last year, reaching $52.3 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 14.8% as compared to the first four months of 2019, with a total of $204.8 million for the year so far. The Downloaded Audio format has seen continuous growth every month since 2012.
eBook revenues jumped 10.7% as compared to April 2019 for a total of $92.9 million, bucking a long-standing trend of monthly declines. On a year-to-date basis, eBooks declined 1.1%, coming in at $325.1 million for the first four months of 2020.
In the education sector, revenues from Higher Education Course Materials jumped 139.8% to $47.6 million compared to April of last year. It should be noted that this net sales increase is being driven by a significant fall in returns, down 57.9% for the month. AAP expects an increase in returns in future months as stores, distributors, colleges and universities re-open. Year-to-date revenues were up 7.1%, coming in at $641.5 million.
PreK-12 Instructional Materials dropped 1.2% to $129.4 million compared to April of last year, and year-to-date revenues in the category fell 5.6%, coming in at $344.8 million.
Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, declined 25.9% for the month, generating $26.7 million, and declined 3.5% year-to-date, with $142.0 million in revenue during the first four months.
University Presses declined 51.4% as compared to April of 2019, bringing in $1.7 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, University Presses declined 15.1%, bringing in $13.0 million for the first four months of 2020.
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Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.
StatShot reports are designed to give an up-to-date snapshot of the publishing industry using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on a year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.
It is not, however, possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: a) The number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report and b) It is a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.