How The PDF Made Stephen King An Internet Star

Being a newbie to the PDF world, I like digging up things that I never knew about the PDF format. Well, here’s another one I just recently learned about and wanted to share—just in case you need a good ice breaker when your supply of anecdotes run out at a cocktail party. Although you may not connect the PDF with mainstream commercial fame nor with big names outside the “who’s-who” circle of PDF faces, here’s one to add to the list: Stephen King.

Stephen King is a name that’s become a huge part of mainstream culture with his published novels, short stories and books-turned-movies— Carrie (Doubleday, 1974), The Shining (Doubleday, 1977), Firestarter (Viking, 1980), and Dolores Claiborne (Viking, 1992), just to name a few. And apparently this name has also seen its day as part of the PDF culture.

He was the first major writer to exclusively web-publish his books and played a role in exposing the world to the PDF e-book format. His series “The Plant,” which was begun in the 1980’s, was distributed as an e-book in 2000, hit the 40, 000 mark in the first week, but petered off in sales after awhile. The web distribution of the work was then discontinued as well as the series’ completion as King wanted to finish work on different projects first.

He published his novella, “Riding the Bullet”, in 2000 as well, exclusively for the Internet and was later on made into a movie in 2004. Although these attempts occurred six years ago, this may prove to be a good PDF tip for budding authors with Digital Editions having been released– “Riding the Bullet” got 400, 000 downloads in 24 hours. And this was when the e-book industry was just getting started and when the Adobe Acrobat e-book Reader was known as Glassbook.

However, the e-book industry was pushed into the shadows after legal issues with piracy and DRM security measures (protecting both content and copyrights of the author) proved to be bad publicity for the use of e-books themselves. Nonetheless, popular “Must Haves,” like Harry Potter for instance, still get pirated and distributed illegally online. It’s an issue that won’t disappear overnight.

Yet, seven years later, Stephen King’s Internet success with publishing e-books says something about today: the PDF e-book format has a good chance of coming out stronger this time around. With Google’s e-book search, Digital Editions, better viewing GUIs, digital devices for entertainment on the go, and virtual libraries replacing physical books. . . .

So, if you’re looking for a book, try out an e-book and download instead.