Even if the dominant players in a staid, legacy industry see the writing on the wall — that the Internet will eventually kill them — it’s not easy for them to do much about it.
Some publishers are merely waiting for Amazon to put them out of business. (See “We’re in Amazon’s sights and they’re going to kill us.”) Others have taken to suing startups which threaten their business model. (See: Publishers accuse textbook replacement service Boundless of copyright infringement.)
Macmillan Publishing has taken an entirely different route altogether. It’s one that, until now, has remained relatively under the radar. The company hired Troy Williams, former CEO of early e-book company Questia Media, which sold to Cengage. Macmillan gave him a chunk of money and incredibly unusual mandate:
Substantial change is underway in education. Yet, most of the players continue to emphasize our Frederick Taylor, agrarian model.