The objectification of the book is not new. Think of "Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry."
What might be remarkable -- or book-markable -- is whether the surge in objectifying the book through sumptuous illumination, miniaturization or the creation of book art occurs at definitive moments of shifting media.
One-off illuminated manuscripts preceded the invention of moveable type, but was there a definable surge of them in the decades either side of 1450?
The Audubon double elephant folio books appeared in 1820 about the time of Frederick Koenig's invention of the steam-driven letterpress.
Are William Morris's fine editions from Kelmscott Press in 1890 a datum in a surge of book objectification either side of Mergenthaler's invention of linotype in 1884?
Either side of September 1999 (the release of the Open eBook Publication Structure 1.0), we have the Miniature Book Society, founded in 1983 and, in 2003, Michael Hawley's"Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey across the Last Himalayan Kingdom," the world's largest book according to Guinness. Last month, the New York Times ran an article about Neale Albert's collection of miniature books. Is this popular interest in unreadable books and the surge in book art (altered and sculpted books) an anxious reflection of another shift in media?
Duc de Berry:
Audubon's "Birds of America":
Friedrich Koenig: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v131/n3298/abs/131051d0.html
Ottmar Mergenthaler: http://www.zionbaltimore.org/history_people_mergenthaler.htm
Open eBook Publication Specification 1.0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_eBook
Largest book in the world: http://web.media.mit.edu/~mike/fp/bigbook/index.php#par2
Albert's miniature book library: (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/redefining-a-little-library/)