CD-Roms with textbooks are so old school. Who has the time or want to install those things. Plus if you break the seal you can’t take the book back for a refund. I can’t tell you how long it takes to razor blade those things out.
I’m starting to see more and more publishers and educators start using multimedia and electronic formats. There are multiple electronic textbook providers though most of the ones I saw had terrible EULA’s and DRM and didn’t have a price worth accepting them.
For those who follow the iPod culture you’ve also probably noticed an increase in “ipod Edition” of texts from cookbooks to handbooks. The best I’ve seen though has to be the Sylvius Neuroanatomical Reference / SylviusVG, iPod Edition. It uses the Notes feature of newer ipods to show you reference material. What makes it special though is that it includes images and sound pronunciation of the terms. Very nice and puts to shame the old flash cards some were probably stuck with. Add on that it’s fairly cheap ($10 right now) and that the notes are fairly open (could probably reformat if you wanted), I think it’s a great offering.
I’m not a brain surgeon but I can foresee this catching on in many classrooms especially science and language where flash cards may be used. I’m not a fan of rote memorization but there are some that use it and some students that benefit from it (not me). Art could also benefit.
For those libraries with audio/visual holdings that you may want to offer this could be a possible way to do so. Offer a download that gives text and images of an event along with relevant sounds. An experience some would get from a website though now it is more portable. With the iPod video you may be able to link to video clips as well, though I’m unsure. I’ll have to mess around with this, many possibilities.