Following corpus-linguistic research which has shown the representation of certain lexico-grammatical features in EFL textbooks to be at variance with their use in native English, this paper aims to explore the match or mismatch of discourse presentation (often referred to as ‘speech reporting’) in conversation and its representation in EFL textbooks. The analysis of selected textbooks shows that textbook representation is overwhelmingly concerned with indirect and, to a much lesser extent, narratised mode but not direct mode, the free categories and representation of voice. Further, textbooks promote quotatives typical of written registers but not informal everyday speech. Specifically, I show that discourse presentation in EFL textbooks features essential parallels with a written register, namely journalistic writing. The concluding section considers implications for EFL teaching.