A report by the Competition Council in Morocco concluded that the level of concentration in the textbook market remained high, despite the apparent multiplicity of players in the sector, recording the dominance of a small number of publishers over more than half of the market.
The importance of addressing the textbook market comes from the fact that half of the turnover of the publishing market, estimated at $80 million, comes from the textbook market. The Competition Council report issued on Friday notes that most publishing houses, printing houses and libraries are run by the same people or are owned by people with business or sometimes family relationships.
The report states that these connections, even if they are not prohibited by the Competition Law, may reflect negatively on the independence of the offers submitted by publishing houses within the framework of requests for offers organized by the Ministry of National Education.
He asserts that this situation leads to misleading the Ministry about the pluralism and independence of publishing houses participating in requests for tenders, noting that this practice is conducive to courtesy offers between contractors and sharing the market, especially through handling. The Council notes that the Ministry of National Education continues to work with almost the same publishers, which has created real rents from which these publishers benefit.
He explains that in practice, four groups of publishers control more than 53 percent of the textbook market, stressing that the textbook market is considered closed. He stressed that this situation leads to the creation of real rent-seeking situations acquired by the same accredited publishers twenty years ago, as their market shares remained almost constant throughout that period.
He considers that the economic model on which the textbook market is based is counterproductive, as it is based on artificially supported supply and demand from public and semi-public funds.
It is noted that the economic model currently adopted regarding textbooks has not enabled the development of a real industry for this activity in Morocco, as 40 to 60 percent of books are constantly printed abroad, especially Egypt, Spain, and Italy.
It is noted that while the basic book market directed to public and private schools is subject to regulation through prices and the course of competition, the book for private schools and foreign missions is not subject to any restriction, especially on the level of prices.
It is reported that there is a huge production of textbooks, ranging between 25 and 30 million copies of booklets, programmed and designed to be used only once, stressing that this leads to a huge waste of resources, materials and energy.