The importance of such readings is to increase the believe - and so the Faith - in the real existence (at a phenoumenal level) of Pure Land of Amithaba. One cannot see that as a little thing.
About near death experiences, things are not exactly like you said. First, there are not almost any reports on visions of Jesus (maybe saints, deceased, etc). Then, as far as i know, i never heard about visions of any sort (lights on sky, sweet odours, etc) reporting a sucessful rebirth on Heaven.
Now, about scientific research on NDE, reports seem to show that there is no explanation on it. Portuguese researchers (in my country, and one of them is someone with very good reputation), and other researchers, shown that there is conscience while the body and mind are dead
, during the NDE. The heart fails, the brain does not receive oxygen, neither energy, etc, and during that moment, when clinical death is happening, the person is having the NDE.
Also, and without entering on details, they saw that the "hallucination theory", or any other chemical substance on blood that may exist, are not enough to explain the very lucid experience that people have (and they can remember it, after getting back to life). They concluded in fact that something exists , that such experiences may suggest that there is life after death [and here, iam saying it in a very straight and simples way, without seeing if is "rebirth" or "reencarnation" or 5 skandhas, etc...].
These are very important things to take into account in our buddhistic and pure land practice. I am sorry, but i really dont want to loose my time saying "Namo Amithaba Buddha" if there is no life after death or a Pure Land indeed
. Really! Just think: there are many crazy people outthere (and some of them can persuade and mislead many persons on really intelligent ways), saying many amazing things, like they can see and speak with ghosts (i know someone on TV that says that kind of stuff...), they got a message from god, etc. Some of these people may have give birth to some religions (or sects), due to their lies...
Chatolics says that we should believe on Jesus. Muslins on Alah. Buddhists on Buddha (yes, we need to believe, without proofs, on kamma, rebirth, etc). Jews on God. Etc. Who is right? Is Buddha correct when he says that there is a Pure Land? But why should we say that He is right? Jesus also says that there is an heaven...I followed Jesus when younger, just to find that he would never answer my calls. Now, i am more afraid to find more lies and to loose more time with things that may be not real.
Thats why such question is of great importance, and why i seek cases of sucessful rebirths on Pure Land.
About the books/authors you spoke, Aemilus, seems to be good. My problem is that i live in Portugal, and here you just find typical books that sell good (H.Potter, D.Brown, etc). Pure Land books are much harder to find than a pig flying! I have no possibility to find them (the books, not the pigs lol). Also, even if i buy them on net, they are expensive (in Portugal, most of the people are not very good on their pockets...) and the taxes i would pay are high too (i remember that once i bougth some music Cds with a friend, and the taxes were higher than the CDs...).