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Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
King's new e-chapter pledge
Stephen King
Stephen King has promised to add another chapter to his book
Stephen King is planning to write a third instalment of his internet novel after being encouraged by the response from fans.

The horror author was committed to writing two chapters of The Plant, but warned that unless 75% of those who downloaded it paid a $1 (66p) fee, the full story would not appear.

But within a week of the first instalment appearing on 24 July, more than 150,000 people had snapped it up, with 76% paying immediately or pledging to pay later.

Stephen King's online story
King's story has proved a hit with internet fans

On his site, King said: "The pay-through rate has been higher than I dared hope."

King's publicist, Marsha DeFilippo, said: "The numbers are very promising. He is going to put up part three."

The book is about a vampire vine which invades the offices of a publishing company and promises financial success in return for human sacrifice.

Experiment

King is the first major author to bypass his own publisher by posting his story on the web.

It is an experiment to see how many people are prepared to pay for a service on the web, when they are used to downloading files from sites like Napster for free.

So far it appears to be working.

Up until midnight on 30 July, The Plant had been downloaded 152,132 times, with just 24% choosing not to pay.

"If we've proved nothing else, we've proved that the guy who shops for entertainment on the Net can be as honest as the one in a retail bricks-and-mortar store," King said.

Now the best-selling writer of novels such as Carrie, The Shining and Salem's Lot will release the second and third chapters of The Plant on 21 August and 25 September.

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See also:

25 Jul 00 | Entertainment
King's e-book experiment a success
20 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Stephen King's online thriller
15 Mar 00 | Entertainment
King's e-book crashes
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