Digital technologies allow one to completely eliminate textbooks and make them obsolete. The best examples can be found in the courses being produced by Dr. Roger Schank or you can compare using a flight simulator to a textbook on how to fly.
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Also, while digital technologies do allow one to publish a textbook for microcents, the IP laws worked out over the last two decades mean that content is often subject to a fee. E.g. Institutional use fees, fees per scientific paper, Google book fee, content licensing fees, MOOC registration or course fee (see Udacity which changed from free to fee), software licensing fees for groups etc. Also, there are organizations that hold the IP rights to educational methods such as Spalding International which requires teachers to obtain authorization and licensing from Spalding International before they can use Romalda Spalding's methods in a class . With copyright being valid for close to a century now, the creation of guild protected toll-taking guardians of islands of know-how is possible and is being done. That's one reason why there was so much controversy over Google's digitization of books.
H.G. Wells spoke about educational technology in 1921. See what he said in my Google+ posting below.
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