I've learned an extraordinary amount from books...Probably just as much as I've learned in the dojo.
When I first began, the strings of pictures were excellent reminders for my at-home practice.
When I got further along, the tips helped distill my technique (not that it's great or anything, but it's definitely improved with the tips).
Now, whatever level I'm at, I can look at a string of pictures and interpret the mechanics of techniques--including those of other arts.
I'd recommend that the poster stick with his/her book until a dojo's available. Of what I've experienced, 90% of Aikido is practicing. The rest comes from your instructors.
I've found books to be extremely rewarding to my practice--with or without an instructor.
On the questions posted, I'd say pick up a copy of "Total Aikido: The Master Course." It gave me direction beyond my wildest dreams!!!