Yeah, I’d Be Selling My Casebook Division Too

…If I were Thompson Reuters. TaxProf Blog and the WSJ have the story. The great legal publisher sold its law school publishing division (West Academic Publishing, Foundation Press, and Gilbert Imprints) to Eureka Growth Capital (what a name!), a Philadelphia private equity firm.

Although LSP is an outstanding business with a long history of serving law school faculty and students, the company has made the decision to focus on growing from its core of subscription-based research and reference products, workflow solutions, software and services.

“[Law school publishing is] a segment of the market that, longer-term, we didn’t see as within the core of our legal research offerings,” said spokesman John Shaughnessy…

Why doesn’t Thompson Reuters see much longer-term growth in casebooks? I doubt it’s so much prescience over the applicant nosedive as the death of print. Seriously, no one likes hauling those tomes around, and if anything we should wonder why they weren’t digitized earlier. All this talk of the “broken business model” of law schools (how is it broken? They make quite a bit of money on student debt) is belied by law professors and publishers scoring huge copyright rents by requiring their students, whose humps now make them look Richard III, to buy their latest editions. At the end of the semester, campus bookstores then buy them back for a song because “We don’t know if that course will be offered next year” and then resell them next year at near-full price.

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4 Responses

  1. Won’t the rats just take over the digital texts? But it is another good illustration of automation’s impact on jobs..

  2. CALI has been working on this problem for years. Just starting to show results at http://elangdell.cali.org where we publish free/Creative Commons casebooks that we have paid law faculty to write. That’s right, we PAY AUTHORS and then give away the ebooks in all sorts of formats. We are constantly looking for more authors and more adopters.

    • John, I thought about mentioning your post from last summer about giving away free casebooks, but I axed it at the last minute. Thanks for bringing it up as it is a meritorious proposal.

  3. Who cares….. all education in the US has become a scam, a racket, for enriching baby boomers who will now retire, and never had to worry about real job competition.

    If you don’t want to get scammed in the US, either go to an Ivy school for a real degree, and get picked up by MBB and the finance world, or go to an Allopathic Medical School.

    Basically everything else is an education racket now.

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