What are they thinking? » The way it used to be
Competition Is Healthy
Several decades ago, textbooks were produced by many different publishing houses that competed in the marketplace. This diversified competition produced a variety of creative and unique books.
However, in the 1980s and 90s, these companies began to buy out each other in an effort to eliminate the competition. By 2004, there were only four major publishers, but a recent acquisition has now reduced that number to three multinational megapublishers that dominate the entire field of textbook publication: Pearson (a British company which now owns the Scott Foresman and Prentice-Hall imprints), Education Media and Publishing Group Limited (an Irish/American parent company for Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt, which includes Holt, Rinehart, and Winston), and McGraw-Hill (the only solely American-owned textbook corporation which also owns Macmillan).
So instead of variety and individuality among secular textbooks, we now have imitative, less diversified textbooks that seek the largest possible market for the least investment.
Today the textbook industry works much differently than it did in the past.