A chap called Dave Middlebrooke helps de-construct reading by breaking apart the content – and the process – here’s what he has to say on textbooks:

“You ask about how textbooks are designed and constructed, and how this might impact pedagogy. Sometimes we get lost in the woods; we fail to see the big picture. Regardless of how many features and bells and whistles you design into a textbook, the basic bound-book form remains the same. That’s the big picture: The form of our books is what matters most.

Scrolls take us out of the box defined by the ancient Roman codex (our bound book); they free us from a book-bound mindset and open us to a much broader range of possibilities for presenting, accessing, interacting with, and sharing the written word.

Open a bound book and you see two facing pages. You’ll never see the whole book at once; the form does not permit this. The content inside our books is implicit (implicare) — literally infolded so that you can only see a fraction of it at any one moment. Scrolls, in contrast, can be unrolled so that the content is explicit — literally unfolded or unrolled (explicare), and thus wide-open to understanding. Bound books meter out their content in little snippets; scrolls show it all in a single, continuous, panoramic view.

In my experience, these two very different book forms — infolded/bound and unrolled — lead to very different learning experiences. That’s design impacting pedagogy.

— Dave Middlebrook”