Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it OK for an instructor to require a textbook that they have authored for a class?
Answer: Yes, actually, if the textbook is better and cheaper than others on the market; and if they have the approval of the dean and department chair.
- How is Revolutions in Communication better?
Answer: Well, in all modesty, better in the sense that it covers all the disciplines like film and photography and broadcasting and computers, not just journalism. It also tries to cover some of the international connections (so not just the US).
- Was the book peer reviewed?
Answer: Yes, in addition to the reviews on the dust jacket, there have been at least seven academic peer reviewers who were experts in their respective fields of public relations and media history. Contents of some of the reviews are reflected in the “blurbs” or endorsements on the back.
- Is Revolutions in Communication cheaper?
Answer: There are several comparably priced theoretical works, but the nearest in terms of survey content is well over $100. Revolutions in Communication is around $30.
- Does the university have a policy on the use of instructor-authored textbooks?
Answer: Yes. An instructor who is using his/her own textbook has to request approval by a committee, or the department’s director or dean. If the book is appropriate and not more expensive than other options, the author / instructor’s familiarity with the material can be a strongly positive factor in a classroom.
- How much money does a textbook author make on a book?
Answer: Not much. In this case, the publishers pay me about $1 for every book sold. Which means that in a class of 30 students, the remuneration isn’t enough for dinner and a movie for two people.
- So then why did you write the book, then?
Answer: I care about this subject (media) and this discipline (history). These days, the media has an enormous amount of influence, but it is greatly resented and not very well understood. Many historians would tell you that some of that resentment is deserved, but that the aspirations and ideals of the media also deserve to be better known.