For Chang-rae Lee's forthcoming novel On Such a Full Sea (which received a star from PW), his publisher, Riverhead Books, is testing some visual fireworks. The Penguin imprint has created 200 limited edition copies of the dystopian fiction that feature a 3D slip case. The limited editions, which will all be signed by Lee, will go on sale along with the standard formats of the book, on January 7, at a hefty price tag of $150.
A spokesperson for Riverhead said the editions with the 3D slip cases, which have been created by 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot (and printed on the company's devices), are currently available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A smaller batch of the limited editions will also be available at bookstores.
The textured slip case is made from something called PLA filament, which the spokesperson explained is a "bioplastic made of corn."
Lee, whose new novel is set in a dystopian America in which post-industrial cities have been turned into forced labor colonies, said he liked that this project "re-introduces the idea of the book as an art object" and that the 3D edition has a "physical presence." He added: "It’s all about changing the familiar. That’s ultimately what all art is about. That’s what we all do as writers."
Lee, who has been a finalist for the Pulitzer, teaches at Princeton. His previous books include Native Speaker and A Gesture Life.