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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 13:57 GMT
'Big name' authors to go online
Stephen King
Stephen King: His e-novel earned more than 300,000
The UK division of publishing giant Random House is to release its first e-books later this year after the creation of a dedicated electronic publishing unit.

Random House's entry into the world of e-publishing follows the launch of e-books by authors such as Stephen King.

The horror writer, who published six chapters of The Plant on his own website, has revealed he made a profit of more than 300,000 through the e-novel.

He has now called a halt to the novel while he works on other projects.

Setback

But the multi-millionaire author denied his decision to pull the plug temporarily was a setback for electronic publishing where the author and reader deal directly with no publishing company.

"In my view, The Plant has been quite successful," he said.

Random House has not confirmed which of its authors will be published on the internet.

A spokesman for the company told BBC News Online: "Until we confirm the launch date we will not be releasing the names of the authors. But they will be household names."

'More choice'

The parent company of Random House has already launched its e-publishing plans, while other major publishers are gearing up for similar launches.

Analysts forecast that digital book sales could reach 2 billion a year, or 10% of total book sales, within five years.

"All the major payers will be launching books in electronic form by the end of the year," said the spokesman for Random House.

He said there was no danger of e-novels killing off traditional forms of publishing.

"Online banking has not killed off High Street banking. It is about offering the public more choice."

High-profile authors such as Elmore Leonard and Frederick Forsyth have already made their e-novel debuts.

See also:

14 Mar 00 | Entertainment
King's e-book goes online
15 Dec 00 | Entertainment
King defends halt to e-book
15 Mar 00 | Entertainment
King's e-book crashes
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
King's e-book stalls
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Leonard joins e-book authors
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