Out of curiosity, what video game art books do you consider really high quality? Are you talking about the full size ones from Dark Horse Comics, Titan Books, etc? Or the $300 premium ones that Ballistic Publishing makes?
Well clearly there are varying degree's of quality. I don't expect a Ballistic Publishing level of quality, although I would buy one in a heartbeat if one was actually produced at that level of quality. Personally, I wish we could get an art book that would be in the $60-$75 price range, quality wise, although I would still be content with the quality you see with general art books like The Art of The Mass Effect Universe, the Mass Effect Library Editions (Vol.1 & Vol.2), The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, etc. As long as they offered an edition that included just the art book and was priced in the $90 range (60 for the game and $30 for the book. Given the overall amount of artwork produced for games, both conceptual and in game, you should see nothing less than 200 pages.
If developers started releasing such special editions, I would opt for the SE with almost every game I purchased. As is, I can count on one hand how many special editions I have purchased. I just have no interest in cheap art books, cheap statues, or other cheap trinkets that most SE's contain. I collect statues from companies like Sideshow and replica weapons from companies like triforce so I have no interest in the lower quality statues we see packaged with today's SE games.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people that do enjoy the special editions that are currently being produced so I have no problem with game companies producing them. I just wish they would start offering higher tier SE's, one's that actually contained higher quality collectibles. I would absolutely love it if we saw more replica weapons being produced. If the game developers commissioned companies like Triforce, I would have no problem paying $400+ for such SE's.
Over the last 5-6 years, we have gradually seen an increase in the number of SE's produced and the overall quality of SE's so I remain hopeful that developers will eventually come to realize that there is a market out there for high quality SE's, ones that contain high quality collectibles, like the ones you see made by companies like Sideshow, Weta, Triforce, etc. Again, I have no problem with developers producing special editions like we see today as not everyone is able or willing to spend $300-$400 on a SE game. I just want higher quality options, for people like myself that want higher quality collectibles. I collect art books, statues, and replica weapons so I would be content with any of those items, as long as they were high in quality.