Textbook case in regulating obsolescence

The ACCC asks whether textbook publishers Cengage and McGraw Hill should be allowed to merge

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s preliminary view is, the proposed merger will further reduce the already limited number of major publishers with whom higher education authors can publish their works. This will likely enhance the merged entity’s bargaining power with authors and increase the merged entity’s ability and incentives to impose onerous terms in contracts with authors.”

The Commission is holding an inquiry and invites submissions by January 20.

“Does this sound like a regulator worrying about record-companies merging while Spotify was getting started?” a learned reader asks.

It might to academics who do not need publishers anymore.

Peter Chen and eight colleagues have edited a new Australian politics textbook for Uni Sydney Press.  “With an online database of 40 chapters, the book innovatively enables instructors to compile a bespoke edition to suit their teaching needs, or to include individual chapters in course readers.”

Wiley charges A$65 for downloadable digital textbooks. Cengage prices are around that. Chen et al is open access.


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