Aleks links to “The Manga Guide to Statistics” and commenter David Warde-Farley links to the similar-looking “Cartoon Guide to Statistics.”
Based on the example shown above, the point of the comic-book format seems to be to allow a punchy, power-point sort of delivery. The picture conveys essentially no content, which would suggest that the entire contents of a 222-page comic book could be presented in a 10-page pamphlet of text. The remaining 212 pages are essentially a reader-friendly trick to get students to turn the pages. It’s the printed analogy to a power-point presentation.
So . . . let’s take the customers’ word for it that these cartoon guides are good. If so, this suggests that the useful content of a typical introductory statistics book can be captured in 10 pages. And, if this is the case, it in turn suggests that textbook writers could do a better job with those other 212 pages. Maybe it would be better to have a 10-page textbook and 212 pages of examples? Presumably a good textbook author could do better than those silly cartoons.
It’s a tricky issue. Thinking about my own 600-to-700-page textbooks, it’s hard for me to see what I would cut to bring it down to 30 pages. At the same time, the actual material that students learn in the class can probably be written in 30 single-spaced pages, so maybe it would be a good idea to try to pull that out.
(My books aren’t directly comparable to these comic books, as I’m covering higher-level material. But the issues of presentation can’t be that different.)