I remember being a kid and getting books that were “novelizations” of movies. In fact, I’m 99% sure I had the entire Star Wars trilogy in novel form as well as the (now not-canon) Timothy Zahn trilogy. Disney is continuing the tradition for “The Force Awakens”, but they apparently don’t trust bookstores, because the novel will be ebook-only at release!
This is a bit of an unconventional approach, but as Teleread points out, it does cut back on the risk of leaks. Only the writers and editors will need to have access to the content, unlike with paper books, where everyone from warehouse workers to UPS to bookstore employees can get their hands on the book and check out the much-anticipated plot. While this is cutting off some avenue of sales through Christmas, I would assume the preteen and up audience for a novelization of Star Wars is pretty familiar with ebooks, and likely has access to a few tablets or phones that can load the book for them!
Of course, all this secrecy makes me wonder exactly what is going to happen in this movie…maybe the Reddit “Jar Jar Binks is a Sith” theory is right after all??