I have definitely bought games before I had the system to play them, but I can't actually remember which ones. I know I had FFVII before I could play it, but I think I was getting the PS for Christmas and I just had to wait a few weeks.
But to the meat, I also lament the loss of game books. One thing I've always done when I buy I game is to go out to my car, tear off that vexing plastic armor, pop open the case, and check out the booklet. Extra points for actually being in color and featuring game art. Then they gradually started giving them to us less and less. I still open the games as soon as I buy them, but man, the excitement just isn't there (this may be due to a general lack of excitement). At most you get a control map, a download code, and an advertisement for something else. "But you can look up the book online!" they say. Phooey to that! I want it in my hands, big impersonal company! My hands!
Honestly, I think they cut the books to save money. Which is kind of a joke when every game has DLC and even Tales is content to sell you costume packs for a few bucks apiece instead of rewarding them to you in the game. I mean, I'd like to be able to buy them as an alternate means, but... but that's a whole different topic, and I still mainlined Berseria, so whatever. Books!
Oh and Horizon does look awesome, but it's on a list. I never finished Zesteria before, which made my playthrough of Berseria interesting. Now I'm back on Zesteria, and I'll probably be hitting Mass Effect after that (unless I lose the impulse. Two tales games in a raw is daunting).