In The Mad, Mad World of Textbook Adoption, Chester Finn and Diane Ravitch argue for local control, rather than having textbooks chosen at the state level.
Textbook adoption is a fundamentally flawed process: it distorts the market, entices extremist groups to hijack the curriculum, and papers the land with mediocre instructional materials.
We do not believe the adoption process can be set right by tinkering with it. Rather, legislators and governors in “adoption” states should devolve funding for and decisions about textbook purchases to individual schools, districts, or even teachers.
Instructional materials are key parts of the domain where we should rely on front-line educators to make the best decisions for their pupils. That means that textbook selection and purchasing decisions should be made as close as possible to the teacher, ideally by the teacher herself. If that’s not practical, then they should be made by the school or district.
They also call for abandoning “social content” guidelines and readability formulas.
Update: Here’s Diane Ravitch on Gadfly.