I just read an article where Stephen King says that in June his new book Joyland will be released in paper version only. The article stated that even though King was one of the forerunners in the electronic publishing format he is nostalgic for the paper version of books he grew up reading as a kid. The article quotes him as saying “Book-readers don’t regard electronic books as real books.”
Since December I have been reading more books on my kindle including the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I certainly enjoyed the Hunger Games books and did not regard them as any less book like just because I opted to read them electronically.
I have read the debates around self-publishing directly to e-book format versus going the traditional route. In all that time I never thought of one of the issues of doing that being the fact that readers do not consider electronic books to be books. I have always thought of books by heavy hitting authors like King classified as real books no matter what format they were read in but reading this article makes me wonder if others feel them to be less of a book. Take away the sensory and tactile differences surely the content is the same therefore they should be regarded as equals.
One other thought and it is one I shudder to think of but is King’s decision more to do with sales? The article states:
“King, a prolific author with a string of bestsellers to his name, released Riding the Bullet online in 2000, declaring: “I’m curious to see what sort of response there is and whether or not this is the future”.
But the publishers’ websites, which were offering the novel for $2.50, crashed due to high demand – and within hours the book was being offered around the web for free.”
I would think 12 years on the electronic publishing options are much improved and the site crashing is not an issue but does piracy still reign?
What do you think? Are electronic books as good as the real deal? Would fear of the book taking a sales hit due to being offered for free elsewhere make you think twice about electronic publishing?
You can read the entire article from BBC News: