Why should anyone rely on textbooks, whether on paper, tablets, smartphones, or more advanced electronic communication devices? How much do they increase learning, if the teacher is informed about the subject matter instructed? Are textbooks a crutch for educators or a necessity for students to learn? Hard copy and electronic textbooks that I've reviewed seldom follow patterns identified by experimental empirical behavioral scientists describe that people use to learn. At best, textbooks feature discussions "about" something rather than descriptions "of" those things. Instead, they provide learners with a pinball strategy for learning. Like shooting a ball to raise points on a game board, someone presents content that satisfies school purchasers for a teachers' manual most teachers can follow when they choose to do so, colorful illustrations, political content that satisfies watch-dog community advocates, and, then has academic content that meets state requirements. As a fifth grade public school teacher, I was told I had to use state approved textbooks every day. My classes and I did. We used them as door and window props, to adjust desks to fit the size of students, and as a reference library for students to compare their answers to problems against what other fifth grade students learned. Almost all of the 35 to 37 students in the class finished fifth grade academic standards by the end of December. Those who did not complete most of sixth grade assignments, did finish all of fifth grade work, even those who did not read standard English at the beginning of the year. All but a few students who did not enter at the beginning of the year finished at least half of the sixth grades work by the end of the fifth grade school year. These classes included at least five learners who qualified, according to psychological exams, for special education, but met the same academic performance standards as other in the class. That leaves the question, How much do learners "need" textbooks? Or maybe it's educators who need textbooks as an institutionalized self-defense against students not meeting expected academic performance reviews? A defense against claims of malpractice or administrative abuse against educators? Or, is the question too harsh?