Now, one local school is ditching the old-school text books, in favor of going electronic.
Every student who chose the New Hudson High School for learning technologies understood there would be no textbooks.
"I thought it was going to be really cool, because it's very technical...a lot of technology, all computers, no textbooks," said Albert Gionbalej.
Hudson High launched in September with 109 freshmen, who all have laptop computers.
"When we say they don't have a textbook, what we're saying is they don't have a weighted, paper copy in front of them," said Principal Nancy Amling. "But they have access to all sorts of information," she adds.
They do use notebooks for handwritten notes, and they read some literature the old fashioned way, but students seem to value the idea of not having textbooks.
"If you have a certain question about a certain topic they give you, you can like research it right away," said Nicole Urena.
At Hudson, they feel there is a definite advantage to using so much technology to teach students who are part of a generation often called "digital natives". But the idea here is also to turn the students into digital learners.
"We're not teaching technology, we're teaching, inquiring and asking questions through technology, because they can find any answer they want," said Grace O'Keefe.
The school website posts teacher blogs and homework assignments, which students can access from home.
Many of the computers were donated and refurbished, and administrators say it is cheaper to upgrade outdated information than it is to buy a new textbook.
It is too early to tell if this translates into high student achievement, but Hudson High has very high hopes for its future.