Scary Decision for Kindle Books? Stephen King to Publish Novel Only in Print

Photo originally uploaded to Flickr by pinguino (CC BY 2.0)

Maybe Stephen King had too much fun time-traveling back to the 1960s.

That was the premise in 11/22/63his gripping story about an English teacher who tries to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy by slipping through a time portal in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and heading for Dallas.

Twelve days ago Hard Case Crime announced that it will publish Joyland, a new novel by King, in June, 2013. The author was quoted as saying, “Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

The actual book? 

Pew Research Center reports that one in five Americans read an eBook within the past year. And 28 percent of Americans own at least one tablet or eReader for reading eBooks. The average eBook reader read 24 eBooks last year, compared with only 15 books read by those who read only print. You would have to travel back to pre-Kindle Launch Day, 11/21/09, to enter a world where eBooks are not considered actual books.

I love Stephen King’s work, and I can imagine any number of motivations for this bizarre announcement. We know he likes to shake things up, as he did when he helped launch the Kindle 2 on February 9, 2009. At that event, King introduced a novella, UR, which features a Kindle with a button that displays the future.

I don’t need a magic pink Kindle to foretell the future of a Stephen King novel which the publisher refuses to make available to King fans who read only eBooks. The print version will be scanned and widely pirated. How much fun for the author and his publisher will that be?




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Comments 5

  1. Chris Schofield wrote:

    I really enjoyed 11.22.63 and I read it Eink to rubber using my Kindle 3 Keyboard. Frankly I find news like this insult, this ‘powerful’ author is using his status to attempt to force his audience to buy a physical book rather than a more portable, easier to handle digital book. It’s a sad day for you Mr King as I feel your announcement will have switched off a reasonable percentage of your readers, myself included. I’ll read it when he backs down and releases a digital copy and not a day before.

    Posted 11 Jun 2012 at 4:52 pm
  2. Jeffrey Myers wrote:

    Guess I won’t be reading that novel.

    Posted 12 Jun 2012 at 9:15 am
  3. Eolake Stobblehouse wrote:

    I agree, it’s very stupid.
    Unexpectedly so, since King was one of the first to experiment with digital releases, and I think he made quite a lot on it.

    A technical mind pointed out on my blog

    … that a book is a bound set of sheets. So I guess technically an ebook is not a book. But there’s something wrong there, cuz it’s obvious to me that the essence of the book is the words.

    Posted 12 Jun 2012 at 11:21 am
  4. Tami wrote:

    This would be so disappointing. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, maybe ny very favorite. But for two years now I have read almost esclusively ebooks, WHICH I PuRCHASE, often at higher costs than paperbacks, and I read over 100 books a year. Please don’t do this Mr. king!

    Posted 27 Jun 2012 at 8:52 am
  5. Scotto wrote:

    Mr. King must be nervous about his hardback sales declining and scared that paperbacks may disappear altogether due to increasing ebook sales.
    It’s too bad he doesn’t want to exert the energy to capitalize on digital sales. We know he’s creative enough to be up to the challenge.

    Posted 29 Jun 2012 at 5:13 pm