In some cases, Long Beach businessman Corey Frederick would sell the books right back to the schools from which they were stolen, the indictment alleges.
Frederick, who operated Doorkeeper Textz, allegedly paid two librarians, a campus supervisor, a former warehouse manager and others who pilfered the books from schools in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Lynwood and Bellflower about $200,000 between 2008 and the end of 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Prosecutors believe the Los Angeles Unified District alone had at least 7,000 textbooks taken, court records show.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey called the operation a "web of deceit at our children's expense," the newspaper said.
"Taking books out of the hands of public school students is intolerable, especially when school employees sell them for their own personal profit," Lacey said in announcing the charges.