Changing Textbook Industry

Posted on 2/10/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If you license rights to your photos for textbook use then here are a few articles you should read.

Textbook Licensing: Where the Clean-Up Meets the Cover-Up - Copyright lawyers Dan Nelson and Kevin McCulloch provide some background on how major U.S. textbook publishers have been—and, indeed, still continue to—systematically infringe photo the copyrights of the photographs they use in textbooks and various other materials.  They explore some of the various factors that allowed this situation to occur and go unnoticed, despite being an industry-wide practice that has given rise to some of the most egregious cases of copyright infringement in recent memory.

Ethics In The Textbook Publishing Business - Photographers whose business it is to produce stock images that are designed for use in textbooks should IMMEDIATELY look for another line of work. For years the major textbook publisher -- not fly by night organizations -- have been paying fees based on minimal press runs. Then, with no regard whatsoever for the written contracts they executed with the sellers, they have made extensive additional uses of the images without making any attempt to compensate the image creators in any way for the use that exceeded the original license agreement. These additional uses have resulted in millions of dollars of extra revenue for the publishers. Such actions were not occasional oversights, but policy.

Declining Textbook Market For Photographers - The Declining Textbook Market For Photographers explores how the market has been changing recently, the likely shift from print to electronic delivery of educational material in the near future and how that might impact image producers and sellers.

Britannica Image Explorer - Universal Images Group, the distribution business unit of the Virtual Picture Desk (VPD), in conjunction with Encyclopaedia Britannica has launched a new photo service called "Britannica Image Explorer." This library of imagery launched with over 1 million images specifically edited for the needs of educational users. School systems will subscriber to this service and members of these organizations will have unlimited access to low resolution (150 dpi) versions of these images for the duration of the license. The license is for non-commercial educational use only. Any uses not covered by the subscription license must be licensed separately directly from the image provider.

Publishers Owe For Past Uses - It looks at the issue of publishers printing many more copies of books than they licensed rights to print. The article makes some suggestions for strategies to determine if the books where your images have been used are among those that have been overprinted, and how photographers and agents might collect for those unauthorized uses.

Photographers vs. Publishers - This story provides a list the plantiffs, defendants and the defendant’s attorneys in 37 cases across the country in recent years where the unauthorized overprinting of books was the issue. A number of these cases have been settled. Some are still active.

Education Statistics: Of Interest To Photographers - For those who think that the use of photography in book publishing and for educational purposes will remain the same in this years ahead this story provides some numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau to consider. Significant changes can be expected in the near future

Stock Photo Prices – Textbooks discusses some updated strategies for pricing textbook uses.

I would also recommend that anyone interested in supplying photos for educational use take a look at this video that explains how iPads may be used in education in the future.

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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