Stephen King Closer to Honor System Ebook Test

Posted on July 17, 2000

Stephen King is closer to providing the complete details about the upcoming release of his novella entitled The Plant. The Plant is set in the early 1980s and is about a plant that takes over the offices of a publishing company. King calls it funny and gruesome at the same time and compares it to his novel Christine. The Plant will be released online in installments of 5,000 to 7,000 words each. The first installment goes online on July 24th, 2000. Downloads will be made available on the author's website.

The Plant will be released in three parts, but the third part will only be released if readers cooperate by paying. Stephen King is committed to delivering the first two parts of The Plant and if King feels readers are making payments he will then release the third installment of the story. If and when the third part is released, the first part of the story will be removed from the website. The format of the downloads and the method of payment have yet to be announced. The price has been set at one dollar per download and readers are on the honor system to ante up. As King states, "remember: this ain't Napster. Take what you want... and pay for it."

King's release of the ebook Riding the Bullet sparked a frenzy of ebook activity from major publishing companies and emerging new media companies. Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the ebook. However, many online booksellers, including Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, gave the ebook away for free, which prevented the release from completely testing consumers interest in electronic books.

Despite the fact that he will be publishing through his own publishing company Philtrum Press, King states on his website that he is by no means ready to leave his publisher behind. Stephen King is no stranger to different forms of publishing having released an ebook, Riding the Bullet, and the serialized paperback novel The Green Mile, which was made into a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.