Highly regarded Japanese novelist Ryu Murakami isn't releasing his next novel on hardcover or paperback. He's releasing it exclusively on iPad, and including all the multimedia goodies that the platform allows.
Murakami's novel, A Singing Whale, will feature video elements as well as orchestration by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto—an Academy Award winner for his work on The Last Emperor. So maybe not bells and whistles, per se, but definitely at least one flutist. The novel will cost $17, according to Nikkei, and is ready for download as soon Apple approves it.
It won't be the first time a prominent author has gone exclusive for an ebook reader—Stephen King's Kindle arrangement is probably the most notable example—but those deals often had planned hardcover versions coming out eventually, and didn't include the multimedia aspects that A Singing Whale will. But as ebook readers become more sophisticated, it's not unimaginable that more authors will prefer their versatility over a stack of dead trees.
Does this herald the end of the traditional publishing industry? Not one bit. But it does show a complementary path that more and more authors will no doubt be tempted to walk down. [WSJ]