N ick Cave is a musician an author. Twenty years ago, he released his first novel before moving on with his music career.
This month, his new book, The Death of Bunny Munro is not only available in print and audiobook; it has an iPhone app that presents the story in an interesting way.
Let’s start with the premise. Bunny Munro deals with the death of his wife by taking his young son on a road trip as he continues his job as a door-to-door salesman. Bunny peddles his beauty products as well as his sexual services. Then things get even stranger, believe it or not.
This could be a basic, darkly comic, brilliant-yet-overlooked novel. Then came the iTunes application. This app comes with multiple warnings. Violence, sexual content, profanity, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and mature themes are all promised… I mean warned.
The app contains the full eBook with the unabridged audiobook synchronized to the text. There is also a soundtrack created by the author as well as videos of the author reading the novel. The application was created with a “3D audio spatial mix” so that listeners are immersed in the experience.
So, what does all of this mean for you as a reader? You can choose to experience this book in any way you want. You can read the text, listen to the audio, or watch the author read the novel to you. You can switch between the various modes without losing your place. You can tilt to scroll pages and add bookmarks.
The big question is this… Is it worth it? Of course, you have to have an iPod touch or iPhone to utilize this app. If you do, is it worth shelling out $24.99 USD for the experience? I don’t have that answer. However, I do have a risk-free way for you to find out. The beauty of this app is that there is a free sampler version. I am downloading it as I write.
It contains the first three chapters of The Death of Bunny Munro. If you, like me, are curious but not convinced, give it a shot. No iPod or iPhone? The audiobook is available, without the bells and whistles, on Audible.com.
I think this is an interesting concept, but I’m not sure it will really make a huge difference to audiobook lovers. As with the serialized abridged podcast version of Transition, I’m not certain how this will impact the future of audiobooks. It’s just nice to see authors and publishers trying to make improvements and advancements.