Bundled, blipped and bound: A Tale for the Time Being

The independent, Edinburgh based publishing house Canongate Books have just announced their ‘innovative campaign’ for Ruth Ozeki’s latest novel, A Tale for the Time Being, launching an exciting interactive cover and multiformat bundling.

Clearly they’re remembering their words from an interview back in 2009 with Lisa Glass from book blog Vulpes Libris, when Canongate’s Jamie Byng said that ‘digital publishing represents a wonderful new opportunity for readers, publishers and writers…if it’s done imaginatively.’ Four years later, these discussions about enhanced content seem to link closely to their new release.

There’s no denying that what Canongate have come up with is anything but imaginative. Today they proudly launched a YouTube video showing the world’s first fully interactive cover. Using clever blippar technology, readers can scan the jacket with a smartphone or tablet and access special features, including author interviews and links to social media conversations.


However, this isn’t where the physical book is separated from the digital realm. Last month Canongate announced that they would be releasing all formats of the book simultaneously, and today’s announcement added a further detail to this. Not only have Canongate brought a digital side to their physical jacket, they’re bundling together the eBook and physical book. Today’s details about pricing revealed that the £20 hardback format will include a free eBook download. Alternatively, both the paperback and eBook versions will retail at £7.99 each.

This announcement seems to be exemplar of a publishing house looking into exciting ways to sustain business in a difficult market. In an industry with a rapidly growing eBook-only sector, bringing together traditional and digital publishing seems like a logical step. Canongate describe the values of the Independent Alliance of which they were a founding member, explaining the ‘common vision of editorial excellence, original, diverse publishing, innovation in marketing and commercial success’. I just hope that we’ll be seeing more like this from other publishers.


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