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An electronic book may be viewed as an application with a multimedia database. We define an electronic textbook as an electronic book that is used in conjunction with instructional resources such as lectures. We propose an electronic textbook data model with topics, topic sources, metalinks (relationships among topics), and instructional modules, which are multimedia presentations possibly capturing real-life lectures of instructors. Using the data model, the system provides users a topic-guided multimedia lesson construction. We concentrate, in detail, on the use of one metalink type in lesson construction, namely, prerequisite dependencies, and provide a sound and complete axiomatization of prerequisite dependencies. We present a simple automated way of constructing lessons for users where the user lists a set of topic names (s)he is interested in, and the system automatically constructs and delivers the "best" user-tailored lesson as a multimedia presentation, where "best" is characterized in terms of both topic closures with respect to prerequisite dependencies and what the user knows about topics. We model and present sample lesson construction requests for users, discuss their complexity, and give algorithms that evaluate such requests. For expensive lesson construction requests, we list heuristics and empirically evaluate their performance. We also discuss the worst-case performance guarantees of lesson request algorithms.