Originally Posted by jmal
I think there has always been a rather limited market for photographic books. In part, the production costs require fairly high prices which is a "turn off" to many. Also, there are many competing media vying for the consumers attention.
Additionally, with the demise of the pictorial magazines (e.g. LIFE) - the notion of photographic presentations and essays as form entertainment and information has probably faded.
On the plus side, if you seek out used book stores (we have a great one buried deep in the woods in Copake) you will find all kinds of classic photo books available for a very low price. I picked up a Karsh retrospective covering his American famous persons portraits from the 1940's to the 1980's for about $10 - and it was in excellent condition. Had everyone from Lena Horne to Winston Churchill (remember his Mom was an American!) and so many others.
Hit the used book stores and build up your photo library!