Public School Book Publisher Goes Kaput

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Recently by Gary North: Memory Hole: Socialist Failures


One of the largest textbook publishers has declared bankruptcy. It sticks lenders with over $3 billion of bad debt. It wipes out shareholders.

The Left long ago bet the farm on its control over the public schools. Now the schools are slowly losing money. They are cutting back on everything except football.

Houghton Mifflin could not survive the change. It is the first major textbook publishing to go belly-up. Others will follow.

Some big-name funds were dumb enough to buy the shares of this obvious dinosaur. Rich fund managers still don’t get it. The Internet has doomed traditional textbook publishers.

Professors can put together textbooks for their students by using scholarly journals or other online documents. They don’t need third-party textbooks.

They can write their own e-textbooks and get 70% of the sale price as a royalty. Who needs committees to screen these textbooks? The teacher is in charge.

Would you rather assign a $150 textbook and get nothing, or assign your own and get 70% of $10 times 30 or 60 every semester? Would you rather have students read your ideas or a committee’s ideas?

You can assign the textbook of some author whose ideas you agree with.

If a college department is in charge, members of the department can each write a chapter.

What does a traditional textbook publisher bring to the table? Not much.

That’s why they are all doomed. It’s about time.

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Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

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