The novel will be available on their site so people will still be able to get up to speed even if the book isn't included, though I think it should be in every copy of the game, just like episode 0 should've shipped with XIII.
I wonder why they never translated the novel for the official websites of America and Europe of XIII, the Japanese site has the novel online and is the damn prologue of the game!
It really helps reading that before getting to understand the Fal'Cie nonsense and what not. But this thing with the novels bothers me a little, because it says a lot when your game has an story in where you have to read everything in order to understand what's happening, even the cutscenes.
If Metal Gear didn't do it before, why Final Fantasy has to start with this now?