Stephen King bypasses digital with pulpy new novel

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Stephen King has revealed that his latest project – no, not the TV adaptation of 11/22/63, the other thing. No, not his musical with John Mellencamp and Neko Case either, the other other thing. No, not his forthcoming sequel to The Shining, his other other other… look, the man keeps busy, is the point – anyway, King’s next book will bypass digital editions completely for the foreseeable future and be available exclusively in print. Upon its publication in a fortnight, the crime novel Joyland will commit wholly to its pulpy roots and be printed in paperback alone by Hard Case Crime, with a limited run of 2,250 hardback copies to follow a week later.

In the interview, King is quoted as saying ‘I have no plans for a digital version. Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one.’ As the Telegraph notes, it is a perhaps unexpected move from the man whose pioneering exclusive digital publication of short story Riding The Bullet in 2000 helped legitimise the very concept of e-books, but one that is nevertheless in keeping with the ethos of Hard Case Crime, whose owner, Charles Ardai, also told the Wall Street Journal ‘I think he just enjoys the pulp presentation’.

Ardai founded Hard Case Crime in 2004 to replicate the experience of reading pulp fiction from the 40s and 50s in a present day context, down to the specially commissioned cover art, with new work from contemporary authors commingling with reprints of classic titles. King has previously published one title with the company, 2005’s The Colorado Kid. Other authors featured in the series include several masters and progenitors of the genre, including Mickey Spillane, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block and James M. Cain. There would be something disrespectful about putting their work in the sterile confines of a digital screen rather than allowing it to yellow gracefully into old age.

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