Cengage has reached an agreement to settle with two of its authors who had filed suit against the educational publisher in May, alleging that the company’s Cengage Unlimited subscription service will improperly cost them sales and royalty payments.
Under the new subscription plan, which was introduced in August, students can access all the digital learning platforms, e-books, online homework, and study tools Cengage has to offer for $119.99 per term or $179.99 for the year. But the authors, David Knox and Caroline Schacht, claimed in their lawsuit that the publisher “wrongfully” implemented “a unilateral change to the compensation structure for its authors,” switching from “the contractual royalty-on-sale” compensation model, to a “relative use” model, which pays authors a “fractional percentage of Cengage’s subscription fees, based on the relative use of the work.”
Under the agreement, Knox and Schacht will purchase Choices in Relationships: An Introduction to Marriage and Family back from Cengage, while Cengage retains the exclusive rights to other titles authored or co-authored by these authors. Those works, including MF and Understanding Social Problems, will continue to be available with a Cengage Unlimited subscription.
According to court filings, the case was officially dismissed on October 4, with prejudice, following notice of the settlement.
“Cengage Unlimited was created to lower students’ costs and increase access to our authors’ quality learning materials,” Cengage said in a prepared statement. “The subscription has been positively received by students, faculty, and authors because of the value it offers: for one price, students have unlimited access to more than 20,000 e-books, online homework access codes, and study guides.”