-Can it go where there are no roads?
Where we're going, we don't need roads.
Really? A TL:DR summary for 3 sentences? That's what we've come to?
As for the thick paper and hard covers of US textbooks: I suspect is has to do with making consumers feel like they're getting something tangible for their dollars.
Most customers don't know any better.
Power company / police: "Why is your power consumption so high?"
Owner: "I'm running a data center."