What did you expect would happen? You expected the free-market to come in and provide books for a minor profit why?
Exactly! IF privatising the production of school books could lead to predictable negative outcomes, we ought express no surprise when those negative outcomes eventuate.
The difference is that now the cost of the books is being shifted to exactly the people that use them. The school children and their parents.
How do you factor in the free-rider effect of all those people who derive a benefit from living in an educated society without contributing. Left to its own devices, the market seems incapable of doing so.
... about how the "free-market" is evil because it wants to make a profit.
Clearly the market is driven by the profit motive of participants. And you would have to be blind to ignore the great social advantages to be gleaned from an exploitation of the profit motive via market mechanisms. Nor is it anything other than a platitude to observe that any intervention in market processes carries to risk, all too often realised, of slaying the goose who lays the proverbial golden eggs. However, it is an equal blindness to accept as a matter of faith, or of definition, that the outcomes of the free market will always produce the most "desirable" results --even on the basis of purely economic criteria, let alone on any criteria which may otherwise issue from human intelligence.
A free market cannot exist --or rather there is as yet no way available for it to exist --without the aid of the state (if only for the enforcement of proprietary rights and contractual obligations). Thus the basic question of market governance must be how much intervention is required. And this carries with it the corollary question: will that intervention be economically efficacious ( i.e. all to often "obvious" interventions negate the very outcome their authors wished to bring about).
Thus most governments make provision for the creation of corporations, because of the clear advantages the corporate form bestows on any economy where this intervention in the free market is tolerated. Indeed it would scarcely be possible even to conceive of the contemporary world without the contribution of the modern limited liability corporation (a creature of state, once again harnessing the profit motive of individuals for the greater good).
Arguably, the privatisation of school book production, in the naive belief that the private sector could more efficiently (read cheaply), do what the government printer was then engaged in, is a failure to anticipate how involving the market in educational policy would pan out. Ironically (in the sense of irony of fate), privatisation in the example turned out to be a poorly planed 'intervention.'