Sometimes you make what you think are reasonable assumptions about things that are an extension of what you already know. It seems like they just found out that the printer(s) that quoted them will charge a lot for this feature, when it can be done inexpensively overseas.
For example, I try to print here in the US where possible, but sometimes the quotes are so outrageous, I have to go overseas to make something viable. I had a US printer literally raise the cost on a hardbound book run that was much larger than this pinball book by $4/unit just to add a number of colored bookmark ribbons. For cloth ribbons. That feature quote was more than the cost for the book itself. So that one went overseas and turned out fine with a much more reasonable cost.
So, yeah, overseas is where this Stern book needs to go to control costs and make it as cool as a $55 coffeetable book (edit, didn't realize most of their pledges were for the low level) should be, retaining the transparent/translucent pages (hopefully they even have them designed already - I would think exploding them into layers in a compelling way would be a challenge).
Domestic Media mail is around $5 for up to 6lbs, and the book shipper/sealing tape is $1 at the very most, so there's $49 for production of the book. For overseas printing, including delivery to the US, I would be shocked if it was more than $7/unit delivered (and likely more like $6) for a short run of 1000, even with the fancy transparent/translucent pages and a nice foil-stamped dust jacket. Unless there's some other real reason for the change, printing cost should not be a cause for cutting that feature.