Custom Publishing

The Noise of Politics and the Common Core

Written by Tim Pope

My Google Alert for “Common Core Mathematics” has recently supplied me with no shortage of reading as a fair number of states are engaging in debate around the Common Core.  The debate has created some strange bedfellows as the Tea Party and the teachers unions share antipathy for the standards while many Republican governors and legislators are joining President Obama’s administration in support of the Common Core.  Healthy debate on what is best for our schools and our children is not only appropriate, but a necessary part of a successful society.  What concerns me as a parent and an educator is my fear that the Common Core debate is being removed from a true conversation about preparing our children for a challenging future.  Learning standards seem to have become another pawn in the seemingly ceaseless polarized rhetoric that passes for political discourse.

Five states have, for various reasons, not adopted the Common Core.  A few others have been debating them for a while.  The number of states questioning the Standards jumped this spring when the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution condemning the Common Core.  Not wanting to use this blog to cover ground that others have covered, the Fordham Institute has provided their response.   














Red – Committed to CCSS             

Blue – Adopted CCSS, but state legislature considering rejection           

Gray – Did not adopt CCSS


The discourse has become heated as some of those wanting to abandon the Common Core accuse the federal government of conspiring to take over schools, invade the privacy of families, and increase the profits of companies involved with the new standards.  Not to only focus on one side of the traditional political debate, teachers unions have also provided lukewarm responses as they worry the new assessments may impact their job security.

In the Heath brothers’ latest book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, they explore the common mistake of confirmation bias when making a decision.  Our politics have become so polarized, I think we often look for reasons to assume the worst and the Common Core is falling victim to this bias.  Tea Party groups are looking to confirm their beliefs about the federal government and unions are looking to confirm their beliefs about perceived disrespect.  The Heath brothers suggest assuming positive intent as a strategy for overcoming the bias. 

Is it not possible to assume the writers of the Common Core are capable individuals seeking to ensure all students are prepared for college and careers? 

Is it not possible to assume the Department of Education was looking for a scalable solution to the incredible challenge of preparing students to make positive contributions to our nation? 

Is it not possible to assume publishers and other instructional materials vendors are simply reacting to the policy makers, districts, schools, and teachers that make up our customer base?

It is also possible that there are great conspiracy theories looking to cheat the American people, and our children, from a quality education.  However, starting with that premise only eliminates the possibility of true dialogue and any opportunity we have to improve student learning.



Higher Education Banner

Much has been made lately about customizing existing textbooks for use by other schools. Kendall Hunt Publishing offers three options for getting the college textbooks and ebooks you need. With our highly trained editors, you can create custom textbooks, using your own, original material. Our publishing professionals support and guide you every step of the way because, just like you, our goal is to turn out the best possible product.

You can also customize one of our existing items, blending your content with ours. The other option is to adopt one of our existing products for use in your classroom. Remember, these don't just have to be printed materials. KH offers a wide variety of content delivery systems and options. eBooks, course packs, other types of digital delivery let you determine what works best for you and your students and meets everyone's needs.

There are so many options and products to explore. Visit the Higher Education area of our website and see all the ways we can work with you to create your best product!


Higher Education Publishing...the Professional Way

Earlier this week I was reading a couple of articles about trends in higher education publishing when I noticed that a couple of the ads that “randomly” appeared on the browser page were for “publishers” offering to publish your book for a flat fee (both just under $200). I wonder how many authors of higher education textbooks have looked into those companies. I know the here at Kendall Hunt Publishing we have a nationwide cadre of highly trained publishing professionals who walk our authors through every step of the publishing process to attain the best results.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a custom textbook, a traditional higher education textbook, or a specialized higher education course offered as an ebook or through a digital coursepack. Our editors are trained to identify your needs and show you how Kendall Hunt Publishing can meet and exceed them. So don’t fall for the “we’ll publish your book for $200” routine. If you have college course materials you’d like to turn into a book or through a digital learning environment, get in touch with one of our editors today. There’s one in your area, and you can find them here:


Do College Students Learn Better with Tablets?

We all know that digital content delivery in the form of digital coursepacks and online course materials are finally storming the college publishing world, including the Kendall Hunt world of custom college publishing. But how do students want to get this content? According to a recent article on (you can find it here: they want it to be available on their tablets. That’s because 86% of tablet-owning students in a recent survey said the tablet helps them study more efficiently, and 76% said they perform better in class as a result. Pretty impressive figures, no?

But what’s the reality? Well, we’ve always known that interactive learning boosts retention. We know that from our experience with inquiry based science products. But now we’re finding out that digital learning environments take students who were usually passive learners and turn them into active learners. And when you can carry everything you need to learn about your school subjects on a small, thin, tablet…wow, I wish I’d had that in college, it would have made studying so much easier in any location. Today’s college students are the first real digital generation, a generation whose learning environments can take them all over the world. Makes me wonder, where will they take our world?

How do you like to learn? Do you want everything on a tablet? In one place? Would you study more or better if that's how your learning materials came to you?


Kendall Hunt - Your Custom College Publishing Experts

As we all wait anxiously to see whether the groundhog will see his shadow or not tomorrow, I thought I'd take a minute to brag a bit about the custom college publishing expertise that Kendall Hunt's Higher Education division has to offer.

Do you struggle to find the college ebooks or higher education textbooks that are just right for your class? My guess is that even if you find a book that works, you're still supplementing it with your own material such as articles, research, images, graphs, etc. Why bother with all that? By the time you do all that extra work, you could create your own book with Kendall Hunt.

We've been in the business of custom college publishing for more than 60 years. You can write your own book from start to finish, you can use some of our material and some of your own to build your book, or you can take one of our existing books and customize it to meet your needs. With a wide selection of content delivery systems, from printed material to ebooks, to digital coursepacks and more, you choose what works best for your class and what best meets the needs of your students.

We have experts that serve every state in the country. Some are located near you and some work from our home office in Dubuque. No matter who you work with, you'll benefit from our extensive experience in the industry and our unparalleled service. Look into our custom publishing options today and let us make your job easier!

New First-Year College Success Symposium Scheduled for Atlanta

Atlanta SymposiumMore than ever college professors recognize the importance of getting first year students off to a good start. Not only does it set them up for success in college, but it vastly improves a school’s retention rate.

For the past couple of years, each spring and fall, higher education publisher Kendall Hunt has offered the Promoting First-Year Student Success in College and Beyond Symposium. The dates for the upcoming seminar at the end of March have just been announced. The Symposium will take place March 30 – April 1 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.

Beside the fact that it should be a beautiful time of year to be in Atlanta, this professional development symposium features leading educators in the field of college student success and diversity education. It will address the full range of factors that promote college student success, focusing on high-impact practices that are well grounded in research on student learning and persistence, and which educate the student as a whole person.

You'll also be able to explore Kendall Hunt's custom college publishing, online course materials, and content delivery system options for your customized first-year title.

Visit the Symposium website at for more information. Register by February 20th and save $25 per person. Watch for more posts with info on the sessions and authors. Don’t miss this outstanding event!


What's a college professor to do?

So, what do you do if you teach a unique higher education course and you can’t find the perfect book to fit your needs? You create your own custom college textbook.

That is what education professors at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa did.  They teach a Human Relations course, which seems basic enough, except they took it one step further for their education students.  They teach their Human Relations course specifically for educators.  Since educators face different human relations situations than persons in other careers, they wrote their book to prepare pre-service teachers for those situations. Congratulations  to Scott Arnett, Susan Burns, and Susie Lubbers on their publication Human Relations for the Educator.

With the opportunities available in custom publishing, you can create a traditional printed textbook, lab manual, digital course pack, college ebook or a combination of any of them.

Discover your Create... Customize ... Adopt solutions at


Summer Ice Cream Treats

As the days get longer and the weather warms up, I can’t help but think about cold treats. There’s an ice cream store in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa that is called Cold Stone Creamery.  I’m sure you are probably familiar with this business concept.  The customer walks in, looks at a large sample of ice cream flavors (ranging from vanilla to cookie batter, to banana) and numerous mix-ins (such as Oreo, Snickers, brownie, or Cookie Dough). 

Now the customer can do one of three things when they enter: they can order an existing creation directly from the menu; use the menu as a template and add their own mix-ins; or create their own treat from scratch.

This concept dovetails perfectly to my work at Kendall Hunt Publishing.  As a leading higher education textbook publisher, we allow professors to create, adopt, or customize a variety of our college textbooks and ebooks.

Like my father-in-law orders his ice cream treats directly from the menu, so to can a professor adopt a textbook directly from our online college textbooks catalog.  This serves him well.  He gets a tested and proven ice cream treat – similar to a professor getting a classroom tested textbook.

Or you could be like my wife and use the menu at Cold Stone as a guide.  She looks up a certain ice cream flavor and consults a list of recommendations to meet her palate.   Her favorite is the cake batter ice cream with the cookie dough mix-in.  This is very similar to Kendall Hunt’s customization process.  Professors can meet with one of our educational consultants, discuss their higher education course, and discuss their options.  They can adopt an existing book and add their own content to create a digital course pack; they could consult our digital learning center to see some of our existing material to add, or they could create a new digital coursepack and deliver via our content delivery system.  The possibilities are truly endless!

Finally, the customer can walk into this ice cream store and invent their own ice cream creation.  This is how I like to roll.  Throw a little bit of this, little bit of that, and bam, a new creation!  As always, Kendall Hunt Publishing offers the educator to create their own course content to meet the needs of them and their students.  Professors can create their own college ebooks, college textbooks, or digital coursepacks. This is the principle that Kendall Hunt was based on and has followed for over sixty years…

All this talk about ice cream is making me hungry…..Thank heavens that Kendall Hunt Publishing offers online content delivery so I can work on the run….I’m off to the ice cream store!


Attend an eConference this summer!

School's barely out in some areas of the country, but we know that many of you dedicated teachers are already thinking about what you need to do to be ready for the start of classes in the fall. Changes in curriculum, new content standards to address, and reassignments to a new grade level can often leave teachers feeling frazzled when it comes to preparing for a new school year.

That's why Kendall Hunt's Professional Development team created Happy Summer!its summer eConference program, which provides program-specific training by KH curriculum specialists. By using eLearning tools and digital delivery for our professional development programs, we can bring you the training you're seeking in an affordable, accessible way. There's no need to spend time and money traveling -- just pick the sessions you want and use your internet-ready computer to both register and attend! 

The summer eConference program has three tracks: Talented and Gifted, Math Trailblazers, and High School Science.  All sessions are interactive, include hands-on activities, and provide time for curriculum-related Q&A. 

The eConference program is just one more way that Kendall Hunt is working to meet the unique needs of its customers. We hope you'll continue to make us your single source for innovative digital publishing solutions and cost-effective, convenient professional development that ensures those solutions are implemented with fidelity. 

Enjoy your summer!



On the CBS show Undercover Boss last week Tim White, Chancellor of University of California, Riverside visited a chemistry course in a lecture hall where they had invested heavily in technology. The Chancellor pointed out how involved the students were during the lecture.  Why?  They participated via technology. 

The professor used Clickers to get student feedback on her questions.  The students participated and were engaged in the course content.

What about your course?  Kendall Hunt Publishing offers custom opportunities to bring a digital learning environment and Clickers to any college course.

Writing a textbook isn't what it used to be.  Now, you can write some of your own material, and borrow selected chapters from our current material and put it into a single book that fits just for your course.  You are teaching what you want, and students aren't paying for material they don't use.

Click here to find out more about our custom publishing program.

Visit us at NCTM!

It's hard to believe another NCTM annual conference is upon us.  The big talk at this year's meeting is about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics, as educators and publishers alike are working hard to make sure the curricula they're using are aligned to the new standards. 

Fortunately for Kendall Hunt, our core math products like Math Trailblazers and Math Trailblazers CCSS Seal
Math Innovations already align very well with the CCSS.  And as a digital publishing company with a strong focus on the development of digital learning resources, we can provide CCSS-related program enhancements to our customers easily and economically without the need to purchase additional print materials.

If you're attending NCTM, stop by booth 1235 to learn more about the ways we can help you address the new standards in your districts and classrooms.  We're also sponsoring some great workshops that will provide additional product information -- you can learn more about those here.

And if you're not attending NCTM this year, don't worry! Just call your Kendall Hunt sales representative at 1-800-542-6657 -- they'll be happy to speak with you about all of our math product solutions -- including Flourish, our new digital learning network -- and the ways they can help you not only meet, but exceed the new CCSS standards!

Kendall Hunt Custom Publishing for Higher Education

Kendall Hunt Custom PublishingWe spend a great deal of time here on the KH blog talking about our outstanding PreK-12 curricula. But there’s a whole other side to our business that I’d like to share with you:  our custom publishing for higher education. No, not vanity press, but true custom publishing. We’ve been doing this longer and better than anyone else. Ever have a professor in one of your higher education courses who gave you the book list, but then supplemented with all kinds of material and research of his own? Those are the professors who have discovered the value of custom publishing with KH.

We got started in the business back in 1944, when our founder, William C. Brown, bought the rights to 26 workbooks and lab manuals written and used by Midwestern professors. These titles, therefore, had guaranteed sales in those authors’ schools.  Kendall Hunt’s story is unique in today’s publishing industry full of mergers and acquisitions. You can read the rest of our story here.

Today, our Higher Education division offers you the opportunity to custom publish a title for your class with all your own, original material. Or, you can use some of your material, and some of the vast library of material Kendall Hunt has available to custom publish one of our existing titles for your specific school and course. You can use digital content delivery exclusively, or you can combine a traditional textbook with online course materials to create a hybrid product that will work for the digital generation as well as returning students. Check out our custom publishing options and solutions today!


Middle School Math

That first day of school isn’t far away now, is it? My son starts 5th grade this Fall, which, due to a very crowded elementary school, is the first year of middle school in our town. While he’s pretty excited, I’m of course suffering from, “Ack, my baby’s going to middle school, where has the time gone?” syndrome.

All this talk about middle school got me looking in depth at Kendall Hunt Publishing’s middle school offerings this week. We talk a lot about high school science textbooks and elementary education books, but we don’t talk all that much about middle school. But have you checked out our new Math Innovations program? It’s amazing. It develops mathematical habits of mind, teaching students to think like mathematicians. It improves the reasoning and critical thinking skills that are crucial to success in the 21st century.

Math Innovations offers textbooks, but is also a robust online math curriculum with an array of technology options to enhance and supplement the text. Three grade levels and five units per grade allows for customized alignment to state and district standards. Check it out when you have a chance!!


Venting From a Sales Rep (Don't Read)

One area of textbook selling that really gets to me is the adoption process and presentations from publishers. When I see other textbook salesmen rolling in carts full of books and telling the teachers if they buy this one book "we'll give you this cart full of books free" I don't understand it.

If the main book they're selling is so good why not have the "Free" material incorporated in the book to begin with? Why have so many different components with one textbook the teacher will never use them all anyway?

Another thing I don't understand is publishers that offer incentives to buy their textbook like a free DVD player or TV. How do these "freebies" help the students with the subject discipline and state tests? There must not be any confidence in trying to sell the textbook on its own merits if free material is constantly being offered  to purchase a textbook.

A few reasons why Kendall Hunt does not sell this way are:

      1) To keep our costs down and affordable for the customer

      2) We want the customer to make their adoption decision based on the merits of the book not on "freebies".

      3) We believe our textbooks are the best in the K-12 market and we want our customers to adopt based on quality not on other outside factors.

I needed to get this off my chest and I thank you for not reading this post.  


Custom Publishing

Have you ever reviewed a high school biology textbook and liked what you examined but wished a few things with the layout could be changed? Whether it's a high school physics textbook, a primary textbook, or anything in between, talk to your sales rep about a custom textbook. Kendall Hunt is willing and able to do custom publishing for schools or districts.

Why not adopt a high school science textbook that you're comfortable using and is published the way you want it to be? Talk to us and we'll develop solutions to your school's textbook needs.


Step 2: Cover Design

You can preview most of our K12 textbooks at Kendall Hunt Publishing Company's website.

In the previous article, I spoke about the beginning stages of creating a high school science textbook: acquisition and planning, as well as the development of the manuscript and art package. In this article, I'll introduce the design process that we, as an educational publishing company, use.

Around the same time that the copy-editing is being done, we coordinate with a designer to develop the cover image/design. When selecting a cover image for a high school biology textbook, high school chemistry textbook, or any of our textbooks, we look for a good balance of gender and ethnicity in an photos of people that we use. We also consider age-appropriateness for grade-level, whether it’s a primary school textbook vs. secondary school textbooks and whether it’s a product targeted to a specific ability, such as a curriculum for high ability learners.

The cover image needs to be strong and eye-catching and express the concept that we are trying to project for our target market. We want to draw the student into the content. The text/logo-type needs to be nicely balanced and eye-catching as well. We usually request 3-4 choices and may go through several "proofs" to complete the front/spine/back panels of the cover. The text on the back cover is another tool used to interest and draw students into the content. The saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover" is certainly true, however, we need to show something dynamic in order to have potential customers review our products in the first place!


How is Kendall Hunt Different?

Whenever schools or districts look for new textbooks how much thought is being given to the publishing company? What I mean by that is the publisher can make or break an adoption based on many factors.

1. How is the service? Kendall Hunt prides itself on customer service and it is one of the companies main goals. Your rep or customer service is always there for you and can answer most questions or handle any problem on first contact.  

2. Who controls the content of the textbook? Kendall Hunt only publishes the textbooks and content control is retained by the author or authoring group. Many other publishers control content and can make revisions and changes without author approval. In a sense the publishing company is writing the book, not the main author.

3.  How are returns handled? Kendall Hunt allows the textbooks to be returned within one year of purchase if they are still in saleable condition.

4. Once a textbook is adopted Kendall Hunt offers professional development at no charge or on a cost-share basis depending on the purchase amount. Kendall Hunt provides quality consultants, most of whom have used the program being trained on. They can give first-hand information on what works and any problems that might arise during the school year.

5. Kendall Hunt is a family owned, privately held publishing company that has been in existence for over 50 years. Now-a-days it's hard to keep up with the publishing companies being bought and sold around the country. Kendall Hunt is stable and will remain within the family.

These are just a few things that should be considered along with the content of your textbook.

Publishing Step 1: Creating Secondary School Textbook

Kendall Hunt Publishing Company (KH) is an educational publishing company with three divisions: Pre-K-12, higher education and Kendall Hunt Professional.

I work in the Pre-K-12 Division. We produce programs for pre-kindergarten as well as textbooks for elementary school, middle school and high school. We work in various disciplines, but concentrate mainly on mathematics, science, gifted education books and custom publishing. We also develop various ancillary materials to go with our textbooks to create solution-based programs.

For this series of discussions, I'll concentrate specifically on the development of a high school science textbook.

Acquisition and Publishing Plan

The initial step for the education textbook publisher is the acquisition of a new product. This would include discussions between the author or curriculum developer and the publishing acquisition editor to determine whether or not it is feasible to go forward with new product. This would include discussions on the physical specifications of the book (size, number of colors, number of pages, etc.) and number of ancillary components (teacher edition textbook, test generator, website, and so on). At KH, the acquisitions editor would work with a  project manager to determine a budget. We would also work with marketing and sales personnel to develop a publishing plan. The publishing plan may include review stages and/or field testing. The project manager would also create a schedule for the program.

Step 1a: Development of the Manuscript and Art Package

Once a contract is signed for a project, we begin with manuscript development. The project manager works with the author to ensure the manuscript and art package is being prepared properly. We may have the author work within a template in Word or just directly in Word or a similar word processing program. The art package needs to be kept separate from the Word document. One mistake new authors sometimes make is that they try to make their manuscript "pretty." That's our job! We want our authors to concentrate on the writing and we'll concentrate on the publishing.

The high school science textbook is usually submitted by batches of chapters. The chapters are then run through a safety check to be sure the experiments are safe and to add any cautions or warnings that may be needed. They would also develop a materials list for the kit component of the program.

We would also have the manuscript copy-edited. A copy-editor reads the manuscript and checks grammar, spelling and sentence structure. They may also cross reference the student and teacher editions and any other ancillary components to be sure everything makes sense. They will also watch for consistency in the writing style and may be asked to adjust the sentence structures to lower a a certain reading level, if needed. The terms within the content will also play a role in the reading levels. We would have authors review and approve the copy-edits.

At the same time the manuscript is being developed, we work with designers to create the cover and interior designs. I'll discuss that more in my next submission.