Since starting pottery I've bought many books for inspiration and instruction. Here's a short introduction and summary of the what I've read so far...
The Lark 500 series are great books for looking at various artist's pieces and a great starting point for inspiration. This series gives good and simple descriptions of how the pieces were made and what cone was used, wheel thrown etc. Very helpful. These books are good look books, not meant for beginners who need more step by step instruction.
My personal favorite three are
Great for glaze ideas, and shapes
great and unique teapots!
500 Animals in Clay
The best of the three. Fun, weird, unique, magical...really neat animals!
There are more 500 books besides these three and they are worth checking out. For a full color picture book, the price is very reasonable. Around 2500 yen each. For those in the US, finding these books is pretty simple, if you want these books and live in Japan I recommend using Kinokuniya's web book store. http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/
(but you must use the Japanese site to order sadly) It takes around 3 weeks to receive any deliveries (since they're shipped from the US) but the wait is worth it!