Murakami Releases His Own eBook Without His Publisher

from the do-it-yourself dept

With the increased adoption of the iPad and the Kindle, eBooks are finally becoming a viable alternative to traditional paper-based books. And with this shift, comes an opportunity that some publishers may not like -- it is now easier than ever for authors to self-publish their works. Popular Japanese author Ryu Murakami announced that he will be self-publishing his next novel directly to the iPad, sidestepping his publisher in favor of working directly with a software publishing company on this eBook. Murakami's eBook, "The Singing Whale," will include video content and music by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto that will hopefully leverage some of the strengths of the new platform. By self-publishing, Murakami has the chance to make more money from this book than he has with his previous deals. That said, he's also assuming the risk that it loses money; in order to break even, Murakami needs to sell 5,000 copies of the digital book, which is priced at around $17. To be fair, $17 seems a little high for an eBook, but Murakami's eBook attempts to justify the cost by incorporating video and music, elements not typically found in the run-of-the-mill eBook. But, even if this experiment doesn't succeed, Murakami will probably be just fine -- his publisher, Kodansha, reports that they are in talks with the author about publishing "The Singing Whale" as a traditional book. Since Murakami clearly has other options at this point, undoubtedly those negotiations will play out more favorably for the author. We've seen a few interesting new models arise for book publishing in the recent past, so hopefully this is a sign that we will start to see even more.

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  • identicon
    JNomics, 27 Jul 2010 @ 6:55pm


    He will have no problem moving at least 25,000 copies of the book as his audience is tech literate and full of early adopters when it comes to innovations in the art and mixed media worlds. For an fine artist of his stature, these less expensive products provide an opportunity for less "monied" fans of his work to own an original piece.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Content distribution on the iPad is very simple. I published an eBook last month titled "The Day Mike's Dog Ran Away To The Beach".

    But it was a different Mike, of course.

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  • identicon
    Henrik, 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:05am

    You're talking about haruki, right, not Ryu Murakami

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  • identicon
    Adam, 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:28am

    Future of ebooks

    Though I'm not sure how I feel about a large, reputable author self-publishing, I do think it's important for authors to embrace new technology. Including video & sound into ebooks makes a lot of sense. Authors need to write for the medium as much for the audience.

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  • icon
    Stephan Kinsella (profile), 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:01pm

    lower the price

    he should sell it at $5 and would easily sell 20,000 I bet. Or start at $17, then lower it.

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  • identicon
    Lovelyn, 20 Aug 2010 @ 4:35pm

    Murakami will have no problem selling 5,000 ebooks. He has millions of fans that will buy anything he publishes. $17 is a bit steep, but his fan base is very dedicated so I think they'll give up the cash. As an author who has self-published on Kindle, I'm glad to see more famous authors choosing that route. The publishing world is changing quickly. The publishing houses are going to have to get on board sooner rather than later.

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