Answering Author Questions about Cengage Unlimited

graphic of a question mark
Cengage Unlimited & Affordability
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Erin Joyner

The launch of Cengage Unlimited has been met with excitement as many in higher education see how this new subscription model will make learning more affordable and accessible.

As we get ready to roll out our new all-you-can-learn subscription service in August, we want to address questions raised by our key partners: Cengage authors. Below is a roundup of frequently asked questions, as well as questions raised in a recent blog post by an authors’ group.

Cengage Unlimited Royalty Calculation Components

How did you develop the new royalty calculation methodology for Cengage Unlimited?

We worked very closely with an external auditing firm to determine relative values of each product type and to ensure that revenues are accurately recognized. We set the revenue pool values for each of the components offered under Cengage Unlimited relative to each other by looking at similar products in the marketplace, standalone pricing, etc. We also evaluated the potential use of each component based on how we expect a typical student to behave. Learn more about royalty calculation components.

Will there be royalties paid on print copies distributed through Cengage Unlimited?

Yes. Print rentals are a part of the Cengage Unlimited Revenue Pools, just like courseware and ebooks. If a student decides to keep the print rental, then it will be transitioned to a print sale subject to a royalty

Role of the Author with Cengage Unlimited

Are you reducing the role of the author under the Cengage Unlimited model?

Absolutely not. Authors have always played—and will continue to play—a key role in providing students the highest quality teaching and learning materials. Cengage Unlimited does not change our focus on quality learning and quality content. Our authors are essential to delivering this as they are leading experts and respected teachers in their fields of study.

Can authors opt out?

No. Cengage Unlimited is a business model that will offer authors’ materials to millions more students. We are committed to offering as robust a library of products in Cengage Unlimited as possible and strongly believe this will be a successful endeavor for our authors and the company. We have ongoing conversations with our authors covering what, when and how we will publish our products. Cengage Unlimited will not change these conversations. If Cengage authors have any questions about Cengage Unlimited or their contracts, their Product Managers will follow up with them. If Cengage authors are unsure who to contact, they can view a list of Product Directors by discipline.

How can authors be involved in Cengage Unlimited going forward?

Our authors are valued partners and we welcome their input about how we can make Cengage Unlimited a success together. Cengage Unlimited is intended to be a collaborative effort to meet students’ learning needs. We encourage our authors to contact their Product Managers with any ideas or suggestions on how we can better support students in achieving their learning goals and grow our business with Cengage Unlimited.

Cengage Unlimited Basics

Why is Cengage introducing Cengage Unlimited?

Based on thousands of conversations with many of our authors over the years, we know that educators, instructors and academic experts become textbook authors because they want to share their expertise with as many people as possible.

Unfortunately, the current model for higher education course materials is broken. The reality is that students often choose between the materials they can afford and the results they want. Because of this, they resort to old editions, borrowed materials, or worse yet, nothing at all. That’s why we’re launching Cengage Unlimited: to lower students’ costs and improve access to high quality content and digital learning tools.

The dynamics of our industry cannot be denied. Revenues for all textbook publishers have been declining during the past five years. On average, author royalty payments have declined at a similar, albeit slightly slower, rate. Again, disrupting the industry, and leading with affordability via a subscription service that has the potential to bring authored materials to millions and millions MORE students, is a disruption that this industry and students badly need.

How will Cengage Unlimited be sold?

Cengage Unlimited subscriptions will be sold via most traditional retail models, including direct from Cengage, at university bookstores and online textbook distributors.

Will we continue to sell our products through existing channels?

Yes. Cengage Unlimited is not replacing traditional access to Cengage materials, including print textbooks. Courseware can still be purchased standalone or as a bundle, and print editions and rentals are still available through traditional channels. Cengage believes in providing students with learning solutions they will value, regardless of format. Royalty payment calculations for these options remain unchanged.

Erin Joyner is the SVP General Manager at Cengage.