Author Karen Russell goes digital first

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

In an earlier version of this article, I said that the novella wouldn’t be released by B&N/Kobo. I was wrong, according to the publisher, though I could not find in my searches any reference to it being released by anyone but Amazon. And it’s not on Barnes and Noble’s website — which just shows that Amazon is taking over the world.

Karen Russell, author of the best-selling Swamplandia and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, is  releasing her next work later this month. But there’s a catch — the novella will only be available digitally.

Is this the start of well-known authors publishing their works digitally before print, or never in print? It’s hard to say, but it certainly could foretell what direction the industry is going in. Digital books will continue to become the norm, and authors and publishers will explore new ways to take advantage of that.

But with this move, the book will only be available to those who have digital access to books — be it through e-readers, computers or smartphones. Those who prefer print will miss out. And although publishing digitally, mostly through self-publishing, has become much more popular, this may be the first time an author as big as Russell has published something that will not also be available in print.

Sleep Donation, the debut title from Atavist Books, will be released March 25.


4 thoughts on “Author Karen Russell goes digital first”

    1. That’s very true, John. I didn’t take that into consideration. However, I prefer not to read on my phone or computer because of the eye strain. I was hoping to get the novella on my Nook, or in print. … And I was wrong about it not being on Nook or Kobo. It’s not yet posted on B&N’s website.

    1. I haven’t read Swamplandia yet, but I really want to. I read Vampires in the Lemon Grove last month and really enjoyed it. I think Swamplandia might be a good one to read this summer.

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