In addition to Asakusa Portraits my "best of 2008" list also contains the following books, which I'm going to list in alphabetical order (using the photographer's last name):
Jonas Bendiksen's The Places We Live shows the "apartments" of inhabitants of slums - a single room, with the fold-out pages showing each wall. The photos come along with the voices of the people living in those places (in the form of text).
Mathieu Bernard-Reymond's TV transcends "pure" photography through its use of additional digital processing. While this is sure to have purists scoff, it shows very well how digital technologies can be used creatively in contemporary photography.
Chen Jiagang's Third Front shows the changing China, using the eyes of a Chinese photographer. A very welcome addition to the often somewhat superficial Westerners' gaze.
Mikhael Subotzky's Beaufort West portrays life in a small town in South Africa. The photography is stunning, in more than just one way. Both Mikhael's and Jonas' work show what contemporary photojournalism can achieve (if it's not frozen in conventions).