Stephen King's latest book sticks to print

The best-selling author is skipping a digital version of his new novel 'Joyland,' hoping to spur buyers to visit 'an actual bookstore.'

By Aimee Picchi May 20, 2013 10:52AM

File photo of Stephen King on November 12, 2011 (© VARLEY/SIPA/Rex Features)While Stephen King's new move might prove horrific to e-book fans, booksellers are likely to view him as a godsend. 


That's because the best-selling writer isn't releasing a digital version of his new novel "Joyland," which will be published June 4, according to The Wall Street Journal. Instead, "Joyland" will be available only in old-fashioned print. King told the publication that he's not clear when he'll make the e-book available. 


"I have no plans for a digital version," King said. "Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one."


"Joyland," which is set at a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is published by independent Hard Case Crime. In a blurb on Amazon.com (AMZN), King said one reason he decided to hold off on a digital format is that he loved the paperbacks he grew up with.


That could prove a boon to booksellers such as Barnes & Noble (BKS) and smaller, independent bookstores that have lost out to Amazon, which has dominated the e-book market.


The move is an about-face for King, who was one of the first writers to publish exclusively in digital format in 2000. That's when CBS' (CBS) Simon & Schuster published his short story "Riding the Bullet" for $2.50. 


One bookstore told the Journal it believes traffic has fallen off because of the ease of buying e-books, which allow consumers to make purchases online and start reading without even leaving their home or office. 


"I'd just as soon not have people buy their books while typing a thank-you note," said Paul Ingram, a buyer for Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa. 


The publishing industry will be watching King's decision closely. He's one of the book world's sure bets, with his repeated best-sellers helping him to reap earnings of $39 million, according to Forbes


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi


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302Comments
May 20, 2013 2:03PM
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YES!  I agree with Stephen King.  There's nothing better than holding a real book in your hands and letting your mind wander while you're reading.  Thanks, Mr. King
May 20, 2013 2:04PM
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Good for him!  Let's support the book stores!
May 20, 2013 2:07PM
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The digital books make it easy for us to skip the bookstore and download the latest title from the library or retail selling giants at the touch of a button, but  I am sorry I cannot pass any of the books on or donate them to charity, and they don't trickle down to other readers.  If we lament the lack of young people reading, then our use of digital books is adding to the problem.  Having used books floating out there in the world and available for next to nothing gives everyone a chance to soak them in, increasing their vocabulary, knowledge of history, and view of the world.  Don't talk about how taxpayers can make digital books available to children because I don't want to hear it. .  How many Kindles, tablets, or nooks are you going to have to give one child before they are going to be able to read ten books without having the device stolen or confiscated by a family member?  A well-thumbed copy of a classic novel can inspire dozens of youngsters, and that book can be passed on or read over and over.  There's a big difference between a digital book and a book, especially if you're 12, and especially if you're poor.  Is the great novel that inspires a woman to become a doctor going to be a digital copy?  I wonder.  What about the great novel that inspires the next Ernest Hemingway?
May 20, 2013 1:41PM
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Thank you Mr. King, I'll be buying the book the day it hits the stores.
May 20, 2013 2:16PM
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I'm glad.  I've missed reading his books in old fashioned print and don't like that I'm left out just because I"m not tech savvy to have everything on the computer to read.  Good.  Keep it in print.  I miss turning pages.

May 20, 2013 2:21PM
May 20, 2013 2:31PM
May 20, 2013 1:48PM
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Book stores are on the endangered species list.  I live in a town that doesn't have one.
May 20, 2013 3:26PM
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One of my life's joys is reading a good book that's made of paper and a hard cover, books I've bought in a bookstore.  One legacy I'll leave my kids is a personal library of more than 7,000 of real books. They may donate them to a VA hospital preferring their "E-Life" but at least I tried.
May 20, 2013 3:05PM
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Although I understand his position, he should still make the book available in all mediums.  As a 55 year old long time reader it was very distressing to me when my MS made it difficult to hold a book and read.  The digital reader (Kindle for me) has been a godsend!  It's lighter and easier to hold than a novel and I can increase the print size on those days when my eyesight is being affected.  I still love paper books and miss them dearly.  Both should be available & long live the Library system!
May 20, 2013 4:18PM
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I also agree with Stephen King.  I still buy real paper books!  Grew up going to a Library and still love every mystical feeling one gets in a library.  Books!  The real deal.
May 20, 2013 2:51PM
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i like the heft of the book in my hands, the smell of ink on paper, and most of all, that i can choose to read the book, after all not all books are made into audio or ebook.  and most of all, i like that my grand kids can see me actually reading. cause we all know kids do what they see not what i tell them to do.

May 20, 2013 1:57PM
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I predict some jerk is going to scan the book and post it on a torrent site.
May 20, 2013 3:00PM
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At the age of 70 my Kindle is my best friend.  I can adjust the size of the type and the backlit screen is a Godsent against eyestrain!!  Ok so no one gets my old books, sorry but I donated a lot of old books in my day.  Now reading is for me unless I read the large type books to my grandson.  Have a heart Stephen us old timers made you alot of money in our youth!!
May 20, 2013 2:35PM
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What does this have to do with 2 takeout stores merge?
May 20, 2013 1:43PM
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As a book store junkie I can relate to his reasoning. BUT as the new owner of a nook hd+ I do like the ability to carry a library around with me that weighs about the same as one hard cover book. Like it or not digital will be here for a long long time.
May 20, 2013 2:45PM
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Money now needs to fix their front page listings .  They have them mixed up.  However , thank you Stephen for remembering that reading an actual book is an important lesson for young people to know. Not everything comes in digital.
May 20, 2013 2:10PM
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I love real books.  I've read e-books before and it's true that it can be handy to just read a book at a random place without carring books around with you.  But I still don't like them anywhere near as much as a real book.  I love holding a book in my hands as I read.  It will be a sad day when real books disappear completely.  I hope that doesn't happen in my lifetime.  I love technology, but I will still choose a real book over an e-book every time.  For that matter, it will take a lot to get me to buy an e-book.  I've only read free e-books the few times I've bothered.

 

That being said, I think Steven King's move isn't really worth doing.  E-books are here to stay.  And putting off making it available as an e-book isn't necessarily going to mean more real books sell unless there are really that many people who absolutely have to have his latest book and will buy the real book because of this when they would have normally bought an e-book.  Maybe with Steven King, that's true.  He has a lot of fans, including me.  Still, I don't think it will have enough impact to matter.

May 20, 2013 1:56PM
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And without a paid e-book option the ebook pirating will begin in earnest.  If people want an ebook version they WILL get it.  The ONLY reason music pirating has gone down at all is because people can pay to download them.  I'm afraid Mr. King is just trying to delay the inevitable, but good try.  Your heart is in the right place.
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