Shelton, NE, April 24, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- Longtime biology instructor Dennis Holley has been frustrated with the college zoology textbooks for years, and he often wrote his own material for lessons. Now retired, the self-described “nearly 40-year veteran of the biology wars” has written a new textbook for AP high school students and 100- and 200-level college courses for mixed majors and nonmajors. The book, released by Dog Ear Publishing, did well in the third and fourth quarters of 2016. His next project, in production now, is a two-volume set for general biology.
“General Zoology: Investigating the Animal World” connects students and society to animals from different perspectives, beginning with a short history of zoology and moving on to ecosystems, animal behavior, the realms of the animal world, mammals and humans. Some schools already see the merit of the textbook, such as the Muscle Shoals, Ala., district, which adopted it in fall 2016 for its AP course in zoology.
Other textbooks, Holley said, are overpriced and not written for their audience. He bases this on his background as both a high school and a college instructor. “These are written for the 100- to 200-level students, but often they’re written very technically at like 300,” he said. “They’re written in what we would call an encyclopedic tone. It’s just like reading an encyclopedia. It’s just page after page of very technical, terminology-driven information.”
He blames a feeling of competition – who can include the most color photographs and illustrations into their book – for the skyrocketing expense of textbooks and making books “almost unreadable by students.”
In contrast, Holley’s books are written in a conversational style and are based on current educational research, not tradition. “Research shows that the traditional way of doing these textbooks is just not working,” he said, “and so our books are conversational. They’re written at the appropriate level, the 100 to 200 level.
“Everything I’ve done in the book, everything, is always viewed through the eyes of the student. It’s not a book written by research scientists who teach in order to impress other research scientists who teach. … My books are written by an old warhorse, a 40-year veteran of teaching,” Holley said. “I know how to teach, and so I write everything through the eyes of the student.”
“Traditional players in college level life science textbooks don’t have a lock on the market. Next generation publishers – Dog Ear is one of these – can help an author with expertise package a product that can take root where only large, mainstream publishers dared go a decade ago,” said Matt Murry, director of marketing for Dog Ear.
“This book bucks the old-school paradigms of what a zoology text should be. It not only takes a student-first approach in its pedagogy – how the material is presented – but also in how cost-effective we’ve made it. A lot of professors considering adopting the book have reacted very positively to what we’ve done and what it will mean for their students.”
A medium-sized, traditional publishing company released the original version of Holley’s zoology textbook, but it caused a lot of frustration and he was less than pleased with the quality of the book. Working with Dog Ear, on the other hand, has been a pleasant experience. “Their editorial staff is ultra-professional, super respectful,” he said, and Holley enjoys the control he has over his work. “If I want the manuscript to read this way in a certain paragraph, that’s the way Dog Ear publishes it. With (the other company), the words were mine, but I had no input into any of the rest of it.”
To market the textbook, Dog Ear has set up a social media presence for the books and created a postcard mailer that introduces the book to instructors. Holley’s mailing list includes the 459 schools in the United States that teach a course in zoology, whether they are the smallest community colleges to Division I universities. Holley is also visiting his contacts in the field.
“The digital desk copies and other teaching resources we provide for this title give professors and their department heads a really good idea of the total package,” Murry said. “Our outreach will be ongoing through social media, direct mail or however else we can get this book into the hands of educators. The next generation of young scientists shouldn’t be stuck with the textbook status quo.”
Holley has taught biology at high schools and universities for nearly 40 years. He has written science curriculum materials, including lab manuals and textbooks, and he writes a blog found at www.zoologytextbook.com.
For additional information, please visit www. www.zoologytextbook.com.
General Zoology: Investigating the Animal World
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-4212-1 818 pages $150.00 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
Dog Ear Publishing partners with authors to shape content that resonates with readers as diverse as the books we publish. Our mission is to leverage expertise, technology and relationships to form a meaningful and lasting bond between creators, content and culture as a whole. Dog Ear Publishing can be contacted by phone at (317) 228-3656 or through our website, www.dogearpublishing.net.