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S&S Acquires Stephen King’s Backlist, Including Digital Rights

7100153521_e0ef051699_bSimon & Schuster has announced (PDF) that it has acquired the print, audio, and ebook rights to "almost the entirety of the bestselling author’s body of work". That author would be Stephen King, and the body of work consists of 27 titles.

In a deal negotiated with King’s agent  Chuck Verrill (of Darhansoff & Verrill), S&S has secured the North American and open market rights for Christine, Cujo, The Dead Zone, IT, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, and Firestarter, as well as anthologies Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, the first four volumes of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and 14 other titles.

The several titles I checked are currently being published by Penguin. S&S will issue its ebook and audiobook editions  in 1 January 2016, with trade and mass market paperback editions to follow later in the year.

Simon & Schuster has been one of King’s publishers for about twenty years now, and they’re happy to have expanded the relationship. Nan Graham of S&S/Scribner said "As we are daily grateful to Scribner’s Max Perkins for F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, our successors will be grateful to us for Stephen King, whose books will get under the skin of readers long after we are gone."

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the deal was likely worth millions.  And curiously enough, the deal included the digital rights.

I’m calling attention to that aspect of the deal because of the author’s well-known mercurial attitude towards ebooks. Yes, he was one of the first authors to experiment with original business models when he published The Plant online in the year 2000, but he has also refused to allow some of his books to be released digitally.

King hasn’t explained his decision, but I doubt that he was given a choice in the matter. S&S would not have signed the deal without digital rights included; they’re just worth too much.

P.S. Did anyone else wonder whether King considered starting his own publishing house and retaining complete control of his works? Given King’s stature, he could have struck out on his own – and he could have self-funded the venture, as well.

image by superba_

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Rob Siders October 12, 2015 um 2:56 pm

I don’t believe there has been a change of heart, in that the Hard Case Crime thing was more for PR rather than because of any animus toward ebooks. IIRC, Hard Case Crime had just gotten away from Dorchester and the shitshow that became. It might’ve been related to that, as well. Hard to change your heart if it never needed changing in the first place.

But aside from THE PLANT, he’s long been a proponent of audio books and lambasted people who said listening to them wasn’t reading (I think in an old Pop of King column in Entertainment Weekly).

But enough about King, this means new editions of THE DARK TOWER which means I have to buy them again. It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing.

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