Yes, but in the book there is usually a level of interpretation in how the book should be printed, for example. It's not the 'real thing', even though for the most part it's the 'next best alternative'. Many of us cannot afford to buy expensive prints of our favorite artists, so we have to settle for a book.
But, I really enjoy a print a lot more than I do a copy in a book.
What do you mean by the real thing. My idea of the real thing would be the negative, or even the latent image.