In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Stephen King is quoted as saying:
“I have no plans for a digital version,” Mr. 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.”
I find King‘s decision on not releasing a digital version pretty interesting for a few reasons. First, he was (is?) one of the ebook pioneers and advocates. His novella Riding The Bullet was one of the first exclusively digital ebooks out there. With over 400,000 downloads the first day. It is possible there might have been more, but problems with the DRM encryption caused user’s computers to crash from early on giving it a double black eye when coupled with the actual servers selling the ebook being down.
The final thing that I find interesting about it is that he talks about people going to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one… but the book is still being sold on Amazon: Joyland (Hard Case Crime).
So how does this promote local bookstores again?
Yeah, it doesn’t. I think that’s a line to throw out, and a garbage one at that, in order to keep the rights and possibly capitalize on the profits from digital editions later on through self-publishing. Considering that 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James was reported to earn 25% per $9.99 ebook copy, if she sold 1,000,000 ebooks that would have come to $250,000. Had she kept those digital rights and had sold the book for the same price at the 70% author rate, she would have learned $700,000. That’s a $450,000 difference!
So this does nothing for bookstores, and it does nothing for fans. It just means people who want to read it now have to lug it around, possibly forget it at home and have no way of reading it, have it collect dust on a bookshelf somewhere once they are done, and have the satisfaction of contributing to the demise of the rainforest in THE Amazon.
I won’t be one of those people.
Of this I can assure you.