"A Business Activity Surrounded by a Cultural Environment:" Regional Educational Publishing, 1970-2015

  • Penney Clark Curriculum and Pedagogy, UBC
Keywords: educational publishing, region, culture, industry, textbooks


 “A Business Activity Surrounded by a Cultural Environment:”[1] Regional Educational Publishing, 1970-2015 

This historical article looks at the fate of K to 12 regional educational publishing in Canada, with a particular focus on Douglas & McIntyre (Educational) a firm that operated in British Columbia. This firm was very successful from 1980 to 1989 with Explorations, its innovative elementary school social studies series of textbooks. However, ultimately this firm and other western firms were purchased by Nelson Canada, a division of Canadian-owned multinational, International Thomson. Few small presses in Ontario have ventured into educational publishing. Quebec publishers have enjoyed the strongest provincial support programs in the nation. Publishers in the Atlantic region have had a strong regional cultural mandate, but the firms still operating have abandoned educational publishing. Regional educational publishing faces obstacles such as market fragmentation due to different curriculum requirements in each province and territory, competition from foreign branch plants and multinationals, high textbook pre-production costs, provincial government policies regarding textbook authorizations, and photocopying of materials in K to 12 schools. The article emphasizes the importance of regional publishing as a way to help inform students about who they are. It highlights the importance of government financial support for regional publishers and the responsibility of educators to recognize the value of regional resources. 


[1] Robin Farr, “Government Looks All Around,” In Paul Robinson, ed., Publishing for Canadian Classrooms (Halifax: Canadian Learning Materials Centre 1981), 105.


Author Biography

Penney Clark, Curriculum and Pedagogy, UBC
Professor, Dept. of Curriculum & Pedagogy