Stephen King's scariest idea yet - A Shareware Novel?
June 14, 2000 4:16 PM   Subscribe


This is probably the best thing to come out of King's brain in years.

He's running an experiment on whether or not an artist can independantly produce and distribute works and make a decent profit in the process. 5 bucks in total for 25,000 words is a reasonable deal, not to mention the fact that it's freely distributable in hard copy.

It's like he's GPLing a book, and I hope he does well.

(No, I won't buy in. Like I said above, I haven't enjoyed anything King's done since he blew up Castle Rock, and until someone changes my mind by telling me to read one of his books, I'm sticking with that.)
posted by cCranium at 6:26 PM on June 14, 2000

this is getting close to street performer protocol.. (if you haven't read this, read it now.
posted by fvw at 7:20 PM on June 14, 2000

posted by fvw at 7:20 PM on June 14, 2000

Uhm...however, I gotta say that I don't really want to buy some funkified trunk novel. Sorry, but that's what it is, a trunk novel that he's digging out. King can afford to basically give his work away, to have it gilded and thrown off a cliff, to wedge it up his ass, to have it wedged up the ass of someone who drove a minivan a little bit carelessly last year, what have you. I don't know how eager other people will be to follow him...on the other hand, anything that puts a stake in Random House and its ilk is fine by me.
posted by Ezrael at 7:45 PM on June 14, 2000

I don't know about you but I'm impressed with the King website. This may be one of the cleanest and most easy to navigate "celebrity" sites I've ever seen. Informative and enjoyable without any obnoxious flash or other toys.

I don't like the direction this is going though. Information wants to be freely distributed. I agree that artists and writers should be paid for what they do. However, at the same time I can't help but think today's copyright laws are catering to the middleman and the artist is lost in the maelstrom's wake. But then that was discussed at length in the recent Courtney Love thread, wasn't it?

There needs to be a better solution, and I applaud King for doing his part to search for it, but I don't think he's hitting the mark just yet. My fear is that within five years, we may be paying to access websites before we get to the content. I already pay enough to access the Internet. I don't want to have to pay to get every tidbit of info I find, and then see that topped off with banner ads. I mean we might as well all go back to television if that happens.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:07 PM on June 14, 2000

Ezrael: that's another reason I won't financially support King. Hopefully if it's a viable means of distribution, he'll turn around and do some new work online. It's a throw-away novel, so he doesn't have to really invest any time or effort into this little experiment. There's probably enough die-hard King fans that will pay him a decent amount of money. I doubt he'll reach $50,000 but it'd be interesting to see how it turns out.

Zach: I agree, King hasn't gotten it perfect, but it's nice to see influential authors trying.

There are already musicians who have come out pro-MP3 and electronic distribution, and there have been a number of visual artists who have had pay-for sites of their art-work, although I'm unaware of a big-name ticket. (that by no means is a claim that there are no big-name artists doing so, and I'd love to hear from them)

It's good to see mainstream artists exploring new methods.

I also think there will ALWAYS be a free aspect to the internet. Connection will probably cost money, but there will always be people who provide content and create things just for the sake of doing it.
posted by cCranium at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2000

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