Dear Stephen, (I take the liberty of using your first name since I feel like I’ve known you for some thirty-six years, since your Carrie days and have contributed hundreds of dollars to your present comfortable financial situation.)
Where oh where do I begin in telling you how disappointed I am in you?
First off, let me say that, although I’m not your Number One Fan (I read Misery, after all,) I am probably pretty high up there on the list. I remember back when you were a new author and all the buzz that accompanied your debut. I remember countless water cooler conversations about Salem’s Lot and The Shining, to name only a couple. But, it wasn’t until I picked up The Stand and ended up reading it all night long, jumping at every random sound in the house, that I truly bonded with you.
After that, I became a devotee, reading every book you wrote the moment I could. I even went back and read the stuff you wrote under your Richard Bachman pseudonym . Then I read your non-fiction – On Writing and Danse Macabre. I loved Cujo, The Tommyknockers, Duma Key and Under the Dome. I bought every one of the six episodes of your serialized The Green Mile. And, right when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I realized I had missed your “Dark Tower” series. So I bought all seven of them, one by one, thousands of pages, which immersed me in a world from which I never wanted to leave. Seriously, when it was over, I missed the characters more than is rational. I’ve even embraced some of your lesser-known books such as Gerald’s Game (which made me so tense that my muscles didn’t relax again for days) and Insomnia (which for some reason made me burst into tears in public more than once.) Maybe I identified with your work so much because we’re of the same generation. When you made cultural references, I was right there. When you had views on life and death, I felt you were speaking for me, too.
And then I bought my Kindle. Actually, it was your fault I bought it. In November, 2009, when Under The Dome came out, I was right there at the bookstore to get one of the first copies. But, dude? 1,088 pages? Have you any idea how heavy that sucker was to carry around? I mean, hauling it to the doctor’s office or a hair appointment was like being saddled with a very chunky constipated baby! It was a big-time hassle. At that point I had been sitting on the fence about the Kindle, but decided then and there to order one. Then I’d be prepared for your next magnum opus.
I took to the Kindle to the point where I now read all of my books on it. One of the joys of the Kindle Store was that they advertised that no book would be over $9.99. Then some publishers got a little greedy and a bit of a war ensued between them and Amazon. The result was that Amazon would let some charge more, but would let the consumers decide if they wanted to pay it. All this time I have found plenty of great books ranging from free to $9.99. There were a couple of your older books I had missed which I was able to pick up for $4.00 or $6.00, and I remember thinking at the time how great it was that you were selling some of your older works for cheaper prices. Sure, a couple of my other favorite authors began charging more, so I immediately boycotted them, on the theory that there are enough wonderful books out there that one needn’t succumb to highway robbery.
Then I read about your new book, Full Dark, No Stars coming out this month. I was so excited! I hurried to the Kindle Store, only to discover that your newest book is selling for $14.99!!! I was shocked. Are you kidding me? This is for an e-book, a digital transmission! Your publisher has no printing, storage or distribution charges. It is just “words in the air” and you want me to pay $15.00 for that? Now I can hear you saying, “It’s not me. It’s the publisher.” But that doesn’t really wash with me. I mean, you are Stephen Freaking King! I think if you told your publisher that you wanted to “hold the $9.99 line” on e-Books, they’d have no choice but to listen to you. I simply can’t believe that you would do this to your loyal fans. I have bookcases groaning with all the hardback Stephen King books I’ve bought over the years, but I’ll tell you something. I’m not going to buy this one. Until it comes down in price, I guess I’ll just have to break my streak of excitedly jumping into your latest book, ready to be entertained. I’m too angry…and disappointed.
You’ve sure come a long way from those days when you were living in a trailer and sold the rights to Carrie in the mid-1970′s. Maybe you’ve come a little too far if you can’t see what’s wrong with this. It’s a shame, really. I expected better of you.
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