Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk … horror … and Stephen King.

You may or may not remember that Stephen King was the author who released the first ever mass market e-book. That was just 8 years ago in 2000. His book, Riding the Bullet, was downloaded by half a million readers in a couple of days. He followed that up by releasing, in installments, another book -- and letting his readers pay for each installment on the honor system.

Now he’s releasing a new horror novella exclusively for the new Kindle.

King definitely believes in e-books. And, according to The Guardian, he doesn’t believe they will bring about the downfall of the publishing world.
"People when they want music, they have a tendency to be selective, and they can be – take a song like Money for Nothing by Dire Straits – you can pull it out of the album, it's eight-and-a-half minutes long. [But] when you talk about a book you have to have the whole thing, so it seems to me there is a much more level playing field. Yes, mp3s and iTunes kind of destroyed the CD industry because nobody is going to buy the whole if you can just get a part that stands on its own, but you can't do that with books – you've got to have the whole thing."


  1. I wouldn't support e books at all if I thought they would be the end of paperbacks, but I think they will compliment the current publishing system, making books more accessible in many ways abut never replacing those shelves of beautiful books many of us fill our homes with.

  2. Never trust anyone over thirty or who has no books in his house. Kidding! (about the over 30 part)

  3. Never thought of it that way, but he's right - you can't just select one chapter like you can select one song.
    And our family is a big I-Tunes downloader, and yes, we often do just one song. However, I am still a hardcopy person and burn all my music to CD. Don't trust those little digital files!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  4. I think that hardcovers are going to be collectors items in the not-too-distant future although it only costs a couple of dollars more to produce them than trade paperbacks. Economists are predicting that the economy will never recover from its current downturn, so whichever format is the most affordable is what is going to sell.

  5. Helen,

    I'm glad someone else chose an unusual Valentine's day author.

    Happy Valentines Day!! I reviewed a love story for today.

    Valentine's Post

  6. Diane, I am so not-savvy, I never even downloaded music!

  7. You think so, Jean? No more hardcovers? Hmm. If I'm getting an author's autograph, I always try to get it on a hardcover.

  8. Okay, Brooke! I'm off to a Valentine's lunch with a group of writer friends. When I return, it's straight to the Bluestocking.

  9. I don't think they'll be the end of publishing. I think it will actually be the savior of publishing.

    Fewer printed books isn't a bad thing. Not fewer variety... fewer printed of each one. Who needs 3,000,000 of Twilight? Ultimately, the grand majority of them will end up in the trash (not even the recycling). Most people read a book once, and then never again. Waste of resources...

    But there are those books that you like to read over and over and over -- and keep on your shelves. That alone will keep traditional publishing alive.

    I'm talking about this issue on my BlogTalkRadio this Thursday if anyone would like to call in to discuss. (

    I might just continue this discussion through ebook week -- interesting stuff... and I'm saving up for my own Kindle! :-D

  10. I do agree on the overprinting of the "best selling" books, which, incidentally, might not be best-sellers if they counted the returns.

    I'm saving up for a Kindle, too. I hope the price will come down. And I hope, when I get one, they don't come out with a new, better version one month later!

  11. Estimates say 25-40% of all hardbacks are returned and shredded without ever being purchased or read. If competition from e-books changes that fact alone, then they are a good thing.

  12. What I don't understand is how they will stop people just passing them on to each other like they do music. It's not like writers can go on tour to make money like musicians- those books are our livelihood -full stop. This is why JK Rowlings won't allow her books to go electronic. (Surprisingly, she is actually an author who CAN make money going on tour.)

    Also, they keep talking about how ebooks are more environmentally friendly but I read an article in a newspaper today that said if people keep their ebook reader machines for 30 years it works out environmentally friendlier than books. If not the disposal of those devices (just like computers and cellphones) is an environmental disaster.
    Worms eat books.

  13. I never have understood why returned/remaindered books are not shredded and recycled. Why are they dumped?

  14. They say the e-readers won't allow that. I say anything can be hacked. Also, I doubt, Lauri, that people will keep their e-readers 30-years. New models keep coming out and, in today's world, nothing is built to last that long, not refrigerators, washing machines or cars. Manufacturers learned their lesson long ago when appliances actually lasted and people didn't buy new ones. Just look at how often people change cell phones.

    It's one big dilemma.


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