Randall's got a good post up at RetroRoleplaying, asking "Why does every D&D player at the table need a copy of the book(s)?" As he suggested on G+, he's kind of preaching to the choir: most of the old school believes in books for players as an option rather than a requirement.
So I'll go one step further: Why do you need any book at the table at all? If you are using very simple rules that you can internalize, making on-the-spot rulings for anything else, why do you need anything more than a DM screen or a couple photocopied tables?
My ideal for any RPG is a book you read once, to learn the rules, and then never read again except between sessions, for inspiration rather than reference.