That is one way of looking at it too!
I just found that having the information available to be in three books, was very useful. Also, much of the advice that I give, instructions and such, was and is from these books.
For the most part, I do not find that you can get the step-by-step instructions that these books provide.
In the U.S.A., Wilton was always at the forefront in the cake decorating field. Many of the finest decorators started off with the Wilton courses and branched out on their own. Many of the designs and ideas are from these books. I keep seeing "New Designs" that were actually taken from these books.
Many folks are writing books today or claiming design ideas as their own when they were actually taken from these books. Many of the current Yearbook designs are also from designs in these books.
Each of these books are over 300 pages in length and are encyclopedia sized. Folks are paying $25 to $40 dollars for books like the "Whimsical Bakehouse..." and Cake Mix Doctor etc. These books are nowhere near the length and do not have the details of the encyclopedias, at least not in my view.
The books detail figure piping, sugarpaste modelling, Royal Icing decorations, various flowers in various icings, structures such as houses - just about anything you can think of and more. There are recipes, information on chocolate modelling.
For me, these are the best investment I have made in this hobby. I cannot tell you how many tutorials I see on these cake sites where the information was taken from these books.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes