But isn’t textbook publishing in trouble? Such trouble that any takeover at this time would end up being a sort of distress sale rather than otherwise. Aren’t big textbook publishing companies busily investing in an attempt to turn into digital companies, moving away from books and towards on-line learning?

Joe Esposito, in his recent post at The Scholarly Kitchen, suggests we watch for big academic publishers to move in on the textbook world. If, as there no doubt really is, there really exists a market for e-learning, then surely one might expect his suggestion that the acquirer might be Microsoft to be closer to the mark. I dare say Mr Esposito is familiar with textbook publishers’ efforts to get themselves on-line and can judge that they are likely to work out, and can judge that if book publishers were to move fast enough, they could head off the tech guys. Let’s hope. It all sounds a bit like talk a few years ago of setting up an online retail operation that could preempt Amazon.