Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the oldest publishers in the United States, plans to unveil the biggest deal in its history on Oct. 29: a $40 million, multiyear contract with the Detroit Public Schools. But this is not the typical agreement to sell a textbook to every student. Instead, Houghton will be providing a computer-based teaching system it developed with Microsoft Corp. that will connect teachers, students, and administrators, reports the Boston Globe. It's a radical shift away from the classic textbook publishing model and represents an industry transformation, as technology supplants books. "The textbook is no longer the center...

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