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.