"Disrupting the status quo. My favorite thing" is the mantra of Mitchell Waite, former publisher of computer books who was among the first to include CD ROMs, posters, 3D glasses, and software in the back of tech books. Now Mr. Waite has a new spin on book buying: ala carte publishing, or what he calls the Make-a-Guide. Mr. Waite's spin on buying books is to let the reader choose just the content they want, and this may open a new chapter in the publishing industry.
His first example of the technology is birding guides. The site where the first MAG is found is www.whatbird.com, a search engine for identifying birds. The Make-a Guide lets you build a field guide answering the questions in a set of screens, selecting for example all the birds of a particular state or family. Then a PDF of the book can be downloaded or a custom printed book ordered -- usually for much less than the cost of a traditional guide.
You and your students can make your own bird guide here: http://www.whatbird.com/MAG/Make-A-Guide.aspx