The New York Times runs an illuminating article today about textbook publishing. In researching an update of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, author James W. Loewen discovered identical passages about 9/11 in two textbooks published by two different companies. In "Schoolbooks Are Given F's in Originality," Times reporter Diana Jean Schemo writes,
Just how similar passages showed up in two books is a tale of how the largely obscure $4 billion a year world of elementary and high school textbook publishing often works, for these passages were not written by the named authors but by one or more uncredited writers. And while it is rare that the same language is used in different books, it is common for noted scholars to give their names to elementary and high school texts, lending prestige and marketing power, while lesser known writers have a hand in the books and their frequent revisions.