According to Reuters:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers Inc has reached a deal with more than 70 percent of its creditors to cut $3.1 billion in debt as it faces a lagging textbook market due to drops in educational funding. The publisher said it plans to restructure through a pre-packaged, court-supervised Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The HMH bankruptcy is not just about decreases in education funding, of course. We must give some credit to Kaleidoscope, Open Course Library, the Utah Open Textbook Project, Flat World Knowledge, and others around the world for showing that freely available OER and open textbooks can completely replace breathtakingly overpriced publisher textbooks – and that students learn the same amount regardless. If you could get the same grade using a $175 commercial textbook or a free online (and $30 or less to print) textbook, which would you choose?
Why are we surprised this bankruptcy is happening? Anyone who’s been paying attention isn’t. The shake up in educational publishing we’ve long anticipated is beginning… and students will be the benefactors.