I received the Art of Star Wars The Force Awakens book, covering concept art from the movies. It's strange to get this so close to the movie's release, with it still in theatres. I'm used to seeing concept art months or years later. These are always fun to see the development of parts of the movie. I still remember being blown away by the first Art of Star Wars book, but not able to pick it up until years later. On the gaming side, the books provide other sources of inspiration for any number of locales, devices, vehicles, characters, and so on. They can be a great resource at the table. From a game design standpoint, the art books provide all of these same functions and some times I'll refer to a specific piece of art when working on a project. It's more rare to work something in directly, but it has occurred in the past. I wonder if this avenue of development is now or will be come more restricted since those same images are actively inspiring the movies and Rebels. Even if a specific thing is unavailable, using similar designs is sometimes possible.
One thing to keep in mind with the Art books - just because something is explored in a conceptual stage doesn't mean it was ever seriously pursued for the movie or "originally supposed to happen." Star Wars has a history of letting the artists try out new ideas that may or may not lead anywhere. Characters appear and disappear or morph into other characters, as do vehicles, locations, and names. Sometimes an item has a significant role that does change as the movie develops, but not all. Also, keep in mind that the book necessarily contains spoilers for the film, and may reveal (intentionally or not) aspects of upcoming movies. I assume the book has been edited to avoid giving away too much, however.
I also just received the Incredible Cross Sections for TFA. It's good and pretty much everything expected with this series of books over the years. Jason Fry wrote this one. There is at least one good easter egg. There are hints via certain names as to what has developed with the galaxy's major manufacturers since Episode VI. It did feel like it needed more vehicles, however, with several 2-page spreads of individual scenes from the movie interspersed between the vehicles. I presume a locations book is forthcoming. It feels like they could have combined the two. However, past cross sections books have always felt on the thin side, except for the "complete" books that combine the indiviudal volumes. The Cross Section books can be great resources for the roleplaying game, providing details ranging from ship layouts to names of parts or cargo.
Last week, d20 and Saga Edition Star Wars RPG designer Owen KC Stephens posted a great tale of introducing the original d20 RPG edition to some new players via a playtest. Owen excels at telling these sorts of stories and they are highly entertaining at convention panels. The game system itself doesn't figure in to the story - this could have happened (and could still happen) with any edition of the game. You just never know who is going to sit down to play.
And finally, the Starwars.com blog featured Fantasy Flight Games' December releases.