James Patterson Decides Not to Murder Stephen King in Print

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James Patterson

This has to be the most bizarre news story out of the publishing world in a while.  It seems that “He Who Seldom Writes His Own Books” (aka James Patterson) canceled publication of a novel for this November about a stalker who is determined to kill Stephen King – supposedly, because he doesn’t want to cause King “any discomfort.”

Well, isn’t that special?  Patterson finally wised up to the world in which all of us live, one in which there are nuts on every street corner just looking for an excuse to kill a crowd of people…or maybe they would settle for one famous name – especially if someone like Patterson thought it might be cute to prepare the blueprint beforehand?  I guess this is a case of “better late than never,” but that this project even got this far before being put in the trash where it belongs, is both astonishing and crass.

From the sound of an article in The Guardian on Friday, Patterson is not the most remorseful guy in the world, and is using the whole incident as an opportunity to publicize the book that will “replace” his misstep in the publication schedule:

But on Thursday, less than two weeks after the novel was announced, Patterson announced its cancellation. He added that the decision was taken after the publicity that followed the announcement of The Murder of Stephen King, when he was alerted to the fact that “fans of Stephen King have disrupted the King household in the past”.

“My book is a positive portrayal of a fictional character, and – spoiler alert – the main character is not actually murdered,” he said in a statement from his publisher. “Nevertheless, I do not want to cause Stephen King or his family any discomfort. Out of respect for them, I have decided not to publish The Murder of Stephen King.”

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Stephen King

How can anyone in the business not have heard of Stephen King’s problems with fans in the past and just now be hearing of it?

The article reminds readers that King is not exactly a fan of Patterson’s writing, as he has stated in the past, although Patterson downplays King’s criticism as “hyperbole.”  All of this silliness makes me wonder if King and his family pressured Patterson and publisher to dump the book, because it is hard to imagine that King has not been aware of it for a while now, or that he would sit back and do nothing to influence its ultimate fate.

Come to think of it, King should write a book about this mess.

Ebooks with Soundtracks and Sound Effects – Are They for You?

Depending on whom you listen to, ebook popularity is either fading or sales numbers for them have reached a plateau. Either way, that’s probably good news for brick and mortar bookstores everywhere.  But don’t expect ebook publishers and sellers to just sit back and watch what is happening to ebook sales.  Instead, publishers are looking for new ways to enhance the experience of reading an ebook – and what could be better, some of them say, than sound effects specifically produced for the ebook you are reading?

According to The Independent, popularity of soundtrack enhanced ebooks in the U.K. is second only to their popularity in the United States (where have I been on this one?):

So if ebook popularity has faded slightly, how have soundtracked books captured a growing market? Their growth, it seems, goes hand in hand with a resurgence in audiobooks and podcasts. Both have been given a leg up by improved access through iTunes and landmark releases such as the now-classic Stephen Fry-read Harry Potter series and true-crime genre-reinventing podcast Serial. It appears that we still want in-depth, long-form stories, simply in new and different ways from the printed page alone. Some 10 per cent of those surveyed by Nielsen said that they were willing to pay extra for new and interactive ebook features.

Not everyone agrees with the concept, however, and some of spoken out rather loudly about the BookTracks app.  Here’s a bit of what Tech Crunch’s  Paul Carr has to say:

It, hopefully, goes without saying (not least because so many people have already said it) that Booktrack is a laughably stupid idea. The whole point of reading fiction is to remove the reader from reality — for the physical book to drop away and the sights, sounds and smells of the story to play out in the mind. As such, soundtracks and animated arrows urging you to read at a fixed (“it’s adjustable!” the PR will be yelling at this point) pace are an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction. In fact, they’re so at odds with the way that people read books that one has to wonder whether the company’s founders have ever done so.
YouTube Demo Video



So there you have the two very different points-of-view. I do think I’m going to download the app to see for myself if this is something I might on occasion enjoy. Take a look at the YouTube promotion for BookTrack and read the two articles, and if anyone out there tries it, or has already tried it, please do let me know what you think of the app – and the overall experience.  Thanks.