Spring / printemps 2013

“A Precarious Enterprise”: A Case Study of Western Canadian Regional Educational Publishing, 1980-1989

Penney Clark
University of British Columbia
Published April 1, 2013
  • Keywords,
  • educational publishing,
  • textbooks,
  • Canadian nationalism,
  • economics and textbooks,
  • politics and textbooks
  • ...More
How to Cite
Clark, Penney. 2013. “‘A Precarious Enterprise’: A Case Study of Western Canadian Regional Educational Publishing, 1980-1989”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 25 (1). https://doi.org/10.32316/hse/rhe.v25i1.3666.


This study explores the dramatic rise and demise of Douglas & McIntyre (Educational) as a case study of western regional publishing in Canada. During its nine years of life, and before its sale to the multinational firm, International Thomson, this small regional publisher produced a ground breaking social studies series, as well as a health series, and other books. Factors in favour of regional educational publishing were: a rise in Canadian nationalism which often manifested itself regionally, political lobbying, the right employees, and Ministry of Education textbook policies. Factor which mitigated against success were: pedagogical change, competition from American subsidiaries, limitations on access to capital funding, allegiances of company principals, provincial autonomy with regard to education, a change in Ministry of Education textbook policies, and the ascendance of multinational firms.