Home » Enhanced Ebooks » Wally Lamb’s Latest Novel to Be Released Exclusively as Book App

Wally Lamb’s Latest Novel to Be Released Exclusively as Book App

6 December 2015

From The New York Times:

In 1992, two debut novelists gave a joint reading at a Manhattan bookstore. One of them was Ken Siman, whose novel, “Pizza Face,” sold decently, but was hardly a blockbuster. He eventually went on to pursue a career in publishing.

The other novelist was Wally Lamb. His first novel, “She’s Come Undone,” was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, and went on to sell more than three million copies.

Nearly 25 years later, the two have reunited to collaborate on Mr. Lamb’s sixth novel, “I’ll Take You There,” which is being released next year exclusively as a digital app by Metabook, a new e-book publishing company for which Mr. Siman is the co-founder and publisher.

. . . .

There are obvious downsides to releasing a book exclusively as an app. “I’ll Take You There” won’t be available in bookstores or even from e-book retailers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble when it comes out next spring. Instead, Mr. Lamb’s fans will have to buy it from the iTunes app store, and it will work only on Apple devices.

Mr. Lamb said that as a music and film lover, he was excited by the prospect of enhancing a narrative with music, film clips and video.

“I’m thinking to myself, wow, this is really cool, it’s something a little bit different,” he said.

. . . .

Interactive children’s books have become another booming genre, with everything from Dr. Seuss to an app based on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. But when it came to adult fiction, interactive bells and whistles often seemed like noisy distractions that pulled users out of the immersive experience of reading a story.

That attitude is slowly starting to change. Some writers have created apps that allow readers to play a role in the plot or become a character. Others have developed apps that deliver tailored content depending on the reader’s geographic location.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Andy for the tip.

Enhanced Ebooks

8 Comments to “Wally Lamb’s Latest Novel to Be Released Exclusively as Book App”

  1. Six novels in 25 years? Damn, he’d better slow down or be accused of churning out rubbish!

  2. Unless Apple is paying him for exclusivity this sounds like a really stupid business decision. Why not do an Android app as well?

    Are attitudes really starting to change? I’m totally unexcited by the thought of my books being “enhanced” with music and video. Plus does Mr Lamb not realise that thinking that what he is doing is cool – and saying what he is thinking – is in fact terminally uncool?

    • Might be something to do with development. A lot of apps go iOS first and then consider Android versions later. Some never make it to Android at all. I’ve heard that Android is more complicated to develop for because of the platform’s fragmentation across software versions and hardware specifications. I say “I’ve heard” because I haven’t attempted development of any.

      But then, it sounds like what Siman and Lamb are doing could be accomplished in iBooks Author. I don’t think Google has released a similar tool for Android, and if I remember correctly, the EULA for iBooks Author requires that files generated by the program are Apple exclusive. Part of that exclusivity may be that Apple — famous for control of end-user experience — wants to ensure a consistent experience as much as it can.

      I’ve heard of some other app-novel sorts of things. Device 6 comes immediately to mind. It was pretty nifty, but I remember when I tried it, it struck me as more gimmicky than innovative. But there are lots of enhanced ebooks in iTunes.

    • I’m not for against this… I just don’t know but there’s nothing wrong with trying something that you think will work…or even something you think might not.

      Just because it’s something you personally wouldn’t want doesn’t mean it’s not a viable idea.

  3. One has to remember that this is ‘The New York Times’, so anything remotely anti-Amazon is news fit to print.

    “Interactive children’s books have become another booming genre, with everything from Dr. Seuss to an app based on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. But when it came to adult fiction, interactive bells and whistles often seemed like noisy distractions that pulled users out of the immersive experience of reading a story.

    That attitude is slowly starting to change. Some writers have created apps that allow readers to play a role in the plot or become a character. Others have developed apps that deliver tailored content depending on the reader’s geographic location.”

    So more game like than story, and one they’re hoping people will like …

  4. Wow. This has actually been around since before Lamb’s first book, although the technology which Infocom (among others) had back in the 1980s wasn’t quite up to today’s standards. They called it interactive fiction in those days, basically choose your own adventure books on a computer. Add in graphics and sound and you get something more like Myst.

    The genre is still around but was overtaken by fancier console-type games as the technology became available around the turn of the century. I hope Mr. Lamb isn’t betting the farm on this.

    • Visual novels (interactive fiction games and/or dating sims) are popular in Japan, and getting more popular here. The idea is to find all the desirable endings.

  5. apple and itunes is for apple

    but recently we put our audios etc on new Google island which will serve podcasts to androids– just as of 3 weeks ago

    I think, Wally’s move is interesting but the downside of not serving the two major platforms would be a problem, for perhaps readers wd feel left out, and for sure, not going to buy an apple device to get his work.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.