Murray, it sounds like your thought the whole time you were a strictly visual person only to realize that maybe you are a tactile as well. Studies have been done on different types of people and some are predominately visual, some tactile, some auditory etc. Most people are a combination of some sort.
You must feel that when framed, your finished pictures have the subconscious look of a window, which you feel is separating your audience from your work. What you really want is a more up close tactile representation. Books sound like one way to achieve it. Portfolio cases that the mounted prints are incased in, is another.
I once had the opportunity to buy some Hurrell prints and they came in a portfolio case with a classy slide top that housed about 10 prints about 11x14. It was definitely a "personal" type of presentaion.
Try experimenting with different tactile presentations and see what satisfies you.