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      29.07.2000 02:54
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      Stephen King got a brainwave. That's nothinbg unusual for King. He is, after all, responsible for some of the most unusual, shocking, scary (or just downright odd) stories of the last 20+ years. The most recent brainwave led to the idea to publish the latest book "The Plant" in a novel (get it?) format: On the internet. The Plant is serialised to three parts. Part one is on the Net now at www.stephenking.com and will soon be joined by part two. Part three will arrive if a total of 75% of readers (or downloaders) pay the fee required - a total of $1. It's cheap, alright, especially for what would undoubtedly be a best-seller, but it begs the question: Will it work? I have downloaded the book, but not yet read it. I have no idea if it is any good. I am a fan of King's and have read all his books, seen most of the available TV and movie productions and even read some speeches he has given, but I am *not* a fanatic. If a book is crap, then it's crap (like, maybe, 'Eye of the dragon') but by the time you figure out it's crap, it's too late - you have (usually) paid for it by then. Downloading before reading (and before paying) leaves it open to 'hey, it's crap so why should I pay?' and so on. There is also the logistical problem. Presumably the payment is to be made by credit card. I don't have a credit card. Even if I did, I might be anxious about sending my details in to cyberspace. Many people are worried about cyber-theft (despite logical and factual reassurance) and so would refuse to pay like this. Then there is the option of sending cash. After all, it's only a dollar. Fine, if you are in the states but not so clever in Ireland or any other country. As it happens, I *do* have a few dollar notes so I will post one, but most people don't and couldn't (let's be honest) be arsed to go to the bank, get a single dollar, pay the commission charge and then post the dollar. And I ca
      n't say I blame them - it's too much hassle! So, will it work? Hard to say. It all depends on whether it's King's fans who downlaod the book, and whether the majority of customers are in the States. I suppose there will be a reasonable market for this type of publication in the future. It will probably serve more for unknown authors who want their books to be seen by a wide audience and who aren't interested in the money as a priority. I might even publish something myself in this way!

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