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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 17:16 GMT
King defends halt to e-book
Stephen King
King says net users want content to be free
Horror writer Stephen King has defended his decision to halt the continued publication of his online novel, The Plant, describing most internet users as having the "attention span of grasshoppers".

Readers face years of wait before they find out the ending to the novel after King explained that the story was "going back into hibernation".

The writer has charged readers $7 (5) to read the six chapters published so far.

In a response to a critical opinion piece in the New York Times, King said on his website: "Internet users have gotten used to the idea that most of what's available to them on the Net is either free or should be."

The newspaper compared King's books to eating hot popcorn or cold cereal in that they should be consumed in a single gulp.

'Real reading

The newspaper accused King of mis-understanding his readers.

But the writer blamed the problem on the relative novelty of the internet and perceived differences between online publishing and traditional print publication.

"Book-readers don't regard electronic books as real books," he said.

He added: "Since The Plant experiment began in July, I've had dozens of people come up to me and say that they can't wait to read the story... when it's in book form.

"They either don't go on the Web, don't go on it for anything but e-mail, or just don't think of reading online, even if what they're reading has been printed out in the privacy of their own homes, as real reading."

He predicted that the novel would eventually "end up grossing at least $600,000, and may end up over a million".

See also:

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