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Stephen King’s Print-only Edition: Love It or Hate It?

Posted on 2013-May-22

by BB eBooks Staff

Collective Attachment


Long before eBooks took over the literary world and impressed countless of readers with instant delivery and affordability, print books were known for their tangibility and art form physicality. The print book had it magical charm consisting of elegant binding, exotic paper scent, and the actual interactivity between your hands and turning pages. Traditionally, authors typed their manuscript and delivered it to printing press for publication. The owner of print books was attached to the touch and feel of print books that they can pass on to the next generations of their descendants.

Stephen King’s Experimental Joy


Perhaps, fans of the traditional reading medium will be thrilled to hear Stephen King’s announcement. Reversing the trend of hybrid or digital release of fiction, King states his reason why he postponed the idea of releasing Joyland in digital format. Having maintained bestselling titles back to back, King was never afraid to be a pioneer in his career. He had the audacity to push digital release of one of his novels as an online serial in 2000—long before Amazon made a critical move to take over digital books.

Outrage and Chaos


Somehow, King’s decision to encourage people to “stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one” caused a stir in the digital book world where readers have voiced their dissent. The first place to spot a contradiction in King’s statement is The Digital Reader, thanks to pidgeon92 who pointed out that the print book and audio book are actually up for pre-order on Amazon. The comments slams his decision exemplifying that print-only version can be converted digitally probably before the actual release date. Several people doubt whether they will have to go the bookstore when Amazon becomes one of the main distribution channels.

Promotional Support or Discouragement of Bookstores

Comments on GoodEReader and TeleRead reflect harsh dissatisfaction and disappointment. Jason Hills takes the piracy issue to extremes by saying that King is just “courting piracy.” Due to the diminishing presence of actual bookstores, digital shop has been their saviors to access new released products online. The special promotion offered by Amazon continues to tell the other side of the story when 40% discount will surely lure many readers away from brick and mortar stores according to Brian.

We Love You Anyway


Surprisingly, most visitors of MSN Money think differently. They praise the author’s decision to preserve “the smell of ink on paper,” “old-fashioned print,” “real books.” Even so, the voices of reason chime in from time to time to debunk the myth of tech-savvy eReading giving a myriad of counterexamples. Venicelover said that King should release the book in all mediums. Digital format read on eReaders is “lighter and easier to hold.” High plains rider owns a Nook HD+ and likes its portability.

Myth Debunked


Although fans of both camps—print and digital books—might not agree with one another anytime soon, the fact is both formats have their strengths and weaknesses. Certain readers are comfortable with print and/or digital publication for various understandable reasons. For authors, modern day distribution requires that they prioritize the reader’s choice of decision. By releasing the print-only version, his digital fans might be somewhat limited to obtaining the copy from wherever channel that can provide them access to his book. On the contrary, regardless of the title being ‘digital only’, authors can facilitate traditional readers by providing POD for them through online retailers. To make the matter worse, it is nearly impossible to deny the fact that online retailers have become a deciding factor for their purchasing decision. The faster the shops can offer and deliver the products to you, the more likely you will come back and look for more.

BB eBooks encourages clients to experiment with both digital and print editions, but never pigeonhole yourself into one or the other just to make a statement.

Label: eBook Industry News

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