Indeed, the opposite is common. Walter Rudin is the author of several well-known books on mathematical analysis. The publisher, McGraw-Hill, jacked up the price of his books to stratospheric levels, and Rudin fought back -- which wasted him a lot of time, and (I believe) cost him a substantial amount of money. All so that students wouldn't be gouged when buying a copy of his book.
In the end, Rudin eventually lost. $95.56 for a very skinny (and quite popular) book on Amazon right now.
Moral: As content providers we don't need to figure out better ways to work with the publishing industry. We need to figure out better ways to work without them.
The professors they deal with know the game, and just string them along with soft promises and keep asking for more nights on the expense account. The day to day job in textbook sales is just bribing professors with expense accounts.
I was thinking of school books & standing in the line for photocopiers for reference books in the library.
I think that's my favorite system.
Kudos on him for valuing the spread of his work over any personal loss in royalties!