"Real" books should only be "real" books if there's a reason for them to be in physical form. The two books I bought as get well presents for myself are both real books (the other one is "S" by JJ Abrams) and both seem to have a reason for being real.
In 100 Apocalypses, for example, Lucy Corin relies on the physical layout of the page to help tell some of the stories. There are bits in the margins of some stories, a layout that works really well. (One story tells the main story in the big part of the page but along the margin tells what seems to be an alternate version of the story, a gimmick I liked.) And the story I got to most recently (I'm about halfway through all the apocalypses) is called "Vision Test Card."
The story starts out with small -- VERY small -- print, just as a vision test would. It's so small that while I could (just barely) read it on the page, with a lot of work, I ended up cheating (?) and taking a picture of the page with my phone to enlarge the words:
And as I did that, I thought how weird it was that this book, which the author adamantly was determined should remain in physical format for me (again, something I usually dislike: telling me how I have to experience your work rubs me the wrong way, unless it's for a purpose) this book had been converted back into electronic form for me to read it.
The gimmick itself, the small words growing larger, works well in the story and as a reading device, making you work for the story and focusing you on the act of reading as well as the story itself, while also giving you a feel for how the man across the aisle might feel: "he couldn't tell from watching her fingers what she was writing," and we almost can't tell, either.
I call it a gimmick, because it is, but that seems too pejorative. A gimmick is a style device that doesn't work. When it does, it is more properly termed a device. So Lucy Corin's devices work in the service of her stories and because of that, the small type, concurrent stories, and even the physical nature of the book itself enhance, rather than detract from, the experience of reading the book.
(Also, it's an excellent book that spec fic lovers should read. If you want a sample of the stories, McSweeney's ran excerpts weekly and has them up on its site; click this link to go there. Lucy Corin's writing has influenced mine significantly, as you'll see if you check out any of her stories.)
Check out my own stories at lit, a place for stories, where I not only publish some of my own work but I will pay you for your writing! Click here to go to the site.