The “Authors” » How are secular textbooks compiled?

The Invisible Author

Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education at New York University, explains that these books, whether science, math, or history, result from “a massive corporate effort. With few exceptions, textbooks have multiple authors, multiple editors, and multiple consultants. Some carry the names of authors who have been dead for many years.”1

Gilbert Sewall, of the American Textbook Council, adds that the big publishing firms want to reduce their costs to get more profit, so they are “moving toward a writing-for-hire production system and abandoning the royalty-based author system. Some new secondary-level history textbooks have no authors at all.”2

What happens when a textbook has no author?

1 Diane Ravitch, The Language Police (New York: Knopf, 2003), p. 103.
2Gilbert Sewall, “Textbook Publishing.” Phi Delta Kappan (March 2005)..