Dear Stephen King,

Fuck you.

Yes, you read that right.



You have apparently decided only you know what’s best for your readers, so you’ve decided to indefinitely put off releasing an e-book version of Joyland. Who gives a shit if we really WANT the e-book version, you make more than enough money you don’t care if you’re basically taking a huge dump on a large number of people who’ve faithfully bought books over the years.

You know what, Stephen King? Some of us have come to PREFER e-books over paperbooks for a variety of reasons, the least not being the unsustainable and completely wasteful traditional book publisher distribution mode, where books are basically sold on consignment to bookstores and unsold books are shredded.

Some people don’t live near bookstores and will order from Amazon in print — how’s THAT helping them get into a local bookstore?

In my case, it’s too little house and too many books. I have to downsize. E-books means I can forever keep my “keeper library” and NEVER have to get rid of another book. EVER.

Well, except for Joyland, because apparently I won’t be buying it.

So you know what? I guess I’m just not reading this one, unless I happen to make it to the local library (which is, frankly, a pain in the ass and I rarely go) or put it on my wishlist on and wait to see if it ever comes available that way.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who will take this path.

Unless, of course, you change your mind and choose to put it out in e-book format.

Instead of making a sale to a willing reader, you’ve lost a sale. I would have gladly paid, even horribly overpriced the way traditional publishers are screwing readers, for an e-book version. (No, I will NOT download a pirated copy.)

And, oh yeah, if you think print-only will discourage pirates, ask J.K. Rowling how that worked for her. The Harry Potter series was heavily pirated before she finally agreed to have it put into e-book format.

(A really pissed-off reader who doesn’t like one of her favorite authors treating her like crap.)

Fuck you, Stephen King.
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6 thoughts on “Fuck you, Stephen King.

  • June 10, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    He also did some early ebook stuff, didn’t he?

    I think bestsellers in general are doing worse than they used to, just because there’s so much more freedom of choice for readers. So…the guy’s overreacting, probably, and not doing himself any favors in the process.


    He still inspires me. I read his fiction to find ways to improve my own.

    I’ll buy his book in spite of this silliness.

  • June 11, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I used to really like his older books, but sometimes he reuses character details or plot points. I stopped reading his work when I couldn’t get into The Green Mile. If he’s not going to publish in e-oubook format, then he does sound like an idiot. You haove to change with technology as it changes, or you end up typing out your work on something that still has a blinking orange/green cursor; or even more horrifing, a typewriter whose ribbon is low on carbon. Can you imagine the hell that would be? ha ha 🙂

  • June 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

    King was an “early adopter” of ebooks, and released at least a couple as ebook-only back in the day. Remember “Ur” for Kindle? He also posted a serialized novel on his website only. King has done a lot on different formats, so I don’t think his decision not to release this particular one as an ebook is anything to get terribly worked up about.

    BTW, Andrina, I thought The Green Mile was outstanding. There’ve been some (Tommyknockers comes to mind) that I didn’t even finish. And I’ve never been able to read the Dark Tower ones.

  • June 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    David – He did, which is why this decision both pisses me off and puzzles the everlovin’ crap out of me.

    Andrina – Yes, some of his newer work isn’t as up to snuff as his older stuff. But some people love it. *shrugs* To each his or her own.

    Kimberly – It works me up because it pisses me off. This is a book I’d wanted to read. But on the principle of the matter, it’ll be a while (if ever) that I do get to read it. And if his argument has anything to do with “saving indie bookshops,” I call bullshit because Amazon, B&N online, eBay third-party sellers, etc. etc. etc. I’m betting a majority of his sales come from online, not brick and mortar sources. So why alienate a large percentage of readers? And if piracy is his argument, again, bullshit, because JK Rowling’s books were routinely and extensively pirated (sometimes within a day after print release) by people who scanned them in and uploaded the pdfs to pirate sites. So again, not a good argument. Other than he has insulated himself so badly from the real world that he no longer understands or appreciates his readers and just wants to purge words into a vacuum for his own amusement because he doesn’t need the money.

  • June 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The paperback of JOYLAND is available on Amazon for $6.79. The ebook edition of his next book, DOCTOR SLEEP, is $12.74. So I don’t see any argument here on the basis of price. Buying the paperback would save you $6. As for Stephen King getting the majority of his sales from online vendors, that’s nonsense. Amazon is the biggest and only accounts for about 1/6th of printed book sales. Online in total is at most 25-30% of printed book sales.

    Will JOYLAND be pirated? Sure. But it would have been if he’d released an official ebook edition too. And so what if his releasing the book in print only doesn’t really help indie bookstores all that much? Maybe he just wants readers to experience the book the way he experienced similar stories back in the days he’s writing about (the early 70s). You might think that’s silly, and that’s fine – but why isn’t it a legitimate choice for him to make, like a musician who decides to record an all-acoustic album once or a director who decides to make a movie in black-and-white? You don’t like black-and-white movies, fine, don’t go to that one, go to his next. But it isn’t a reason to get all pissed-off.

    Writers make choices all the time about what they’ll choose to give us and how. It’s like saying, “How dare Stephen King write a sequel to THE SHINING? I want a sequel to IT instead! What an asshole he is!” Or “How dare Stephen King write about time travel and the Kennedy assassination? I only read books about the Lincoln assassination! Fuck you, Stephen King!”

    Read the book, don’t read the book, whatever. But getting angry about it is kind of silly.

  • June 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Brian J – Price isn’t the issue, and I mentioned that in the column. I’m used to paying more for e-books than print in some cases.

    The issue for me is I PREFER reading e-books, my small house is not set up for me to bring more books into it, and e-book format is easier for me to read because of the device, adjustable fonts, etc.

    Telling me my emotions are silly, however, is just plain rude. And an author forcing a reader to read a specific format simply for “the experience” shows arrogance of the highest order, and a complete disregard for his readers. Sure, if he wants to put out a disclaimer that he feels the print edition offers a “superior experience” and lays out the reasons why, go for it. But for those of us who prefer (for many reasons) e-books, it’s idiotic for him to do this.

    And he has yet to give, that I’ve seen, any truly legitimate reason as to why he’s not going with e-book on this.

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