Stephen King Says E-Books Will Never Fully Replace Regular Books

Bestselling author Stephen King was once a big proponent of e-books. In fact, he was one of the first mainstream authors to offer a story digitally to his readers. However, Stephen King recently sat down with Huffington Post Live to say that he doesn’t think that regular, physical books are going anywhere.

King said that the argument that e-books will overtake regular books the same way that CDs and MP3s took over the music business is nonsense.

“They’re not like compact discs or even phonograph records. These are things that had their day and they were replaced. You can say that you’ve seen the same progression with books in that e-books have a lot of nice bells and whistles. But the big difference is that audio recordings of music have only been around for, I’m going to say, 120 years at the most. Books have been around for three, four centuries. There’s a deeply implanted desire and understanding and wanting of books, of needing books, that isn’t there with music. It’s a deeper well of human experience.”

Described as our generations’ Mark Twain, Stephen King told CNN in 2010 that he thought that the internet might hurt books sales, but ultimately he thought that content was more important than the delivery method.

“The book is not the important part. The book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.”

However, King’s recent statements to The Huffington Post seem to be a total 180 from what he said in 2010.

“Books will always exist. Will they be what they are now? Absolutely, they will not.”

Four years seems to have been enough to convince Stephen King that regular, hold-in-your-hand-and-flip-the-pages books aren’t yet a thing of the past.

Stephen King released his novella, Riding the Bullet in 2000 as the world’s first mass-market electronic book. Available for $2.50, Riding the Bullet sold over 400,000 copies in the first 24 hours, jamming SoftLock’s server. There were no tallies on the amount of copies that were downloaded in total, or how much money SoftLock and Simon & Schuster actually made on the book. Part of the reason for that was because the encryption caused countless numbers of computers to crash, and Amazon and Barnes & Noble offered the book for free while SoftLock charged $2.50.

However, the experiment got Stephen King on the cover of Time Magazine, and seemed to pave the way for the digital future of books.

King’s advice when it comes to e-books?

“If you drop a book in the toilet you can fish it out and dry it off, and read it. If you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re done.”

[Image via onelifesuccess]