Canongate is readying a launch in all formats for the next novel by film-maker and author Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being, which it acquired in a six-figure deal.
The book will be published on 11th March, with the hardback (£20), paperback (£7.99), e-book (£7.99) and audiobook (£13.99), all being released simultaneously. The title will have a unified look across all formats, created by Canongate with creative agency Big Active.
The novel has multiple settings, including in Tokyo, and tells the story of a diary, washed up in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, and the effect it has on the woman who discovers it.
Publicity and marketing plans include a “live communication launch event” on the release date, with early ideas including setting up public webcams to enable London commuters to interact with their Tokyo counterparts. The hardback jacket will have an augmented reality element, which becomes animated when scanned by a smartphone.
Sales and marketing director Jenny Todd said: “We all think the book is incredibly special and we wanted to do something special for it, rather than the standard plan. She had been published by other publishers, so when you’re taking on a new author and trying to re-energise their career, it requires something quite bold.”
Todd added: “People are talking about doing this kind of thing, but not actually taking the plunge. Rather than thinking, how has this been conventionally done? We are thinking how can we bring consumers to this story? We just thought why don’t we put all our eggs in one basket and make a campaign that is as bold as possible—really wrapping it all around the same publication date and saying: ‘This is an amazing story, buy it in whatever format you want-or multiple formats.’ It really is the music industry model.” She said the aim of the look—a red dot peeled back to reveal layers of images—was to create “something iconic that could be repeated over and over again”. She added: “I can see us doing it for other things.”