Stephen King is shunning ebooks in favor of traditional print runs for his new novel, Joyland, the outspoken author has revealed, confirming he has “no plans for a digital version.” King – whose new book is released in the US from June 4, though as a printed title only – specifically retained the digital publication rights so that physical copies could be prioritized.
“Maybe at some point [there'll be an ebook]” King told the WSJ, “but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one.”
The motivation behind King’s decision is not entirely clear, though it’s believed to be more about supporting physical bookstores than antipathy around digital publishing or, indeed, trying to encourage readers to get some exercise. However, the book itself is perhaps more suited in overall tone to real paper.
King has gone with publisher Hard Case Crime, an independent US firm which specializes in pulp-fiction style cover art. The publishing house has previously been responsible for reprints of classic crime novels, though it also printed a previous King novel. “Part of the reason he publishes with us is to support our authors,” owner Charles Ardai said, “but I also think he enjoys the pulp presentation.”
Ironically, King is hardly an ebook luddite. In fact, he was one of the first high-profile authors to embrace the possibility of digital publshing, releasing Riding the Bullet – which King ghost-wrote – back in 2000 as an ebook exclusive.
“I … loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being” King said of the decision. “Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”