You’re Just Too Lazy to go the Bookstore

King to Readers: You’re Just Too lazy to go the Bookstore

Oh, Stephen. No.

“I have no plans for a digital version,” King said. “Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one.”

I don’t think it’s wise for authors to tell readers their reading format preferences are wrong and lazy. And what about the fact that some bookstores are now selling eBooks?

King can say FU to readers because he’s got market clout. He can be confident that every bookstore in the country will not only stock his book but order plenty of copies so that readers, when they come in, will indeed find his book available for purchase.

What if I’m a reader looking for a book by an author who ISN’T Stephen King? I can assure you that readers may not be able to find that book. For some authors, digital is the ONLY way to get their books into the hands of readers.

What if I can’t get to a bookstore? What if there aren’t any bookstores convenient to where I live? What if big fat books like the kind King writes hurt my hands? This is NOT a joke. My mother, who has arthritis, took to cutting apart paper books to get them into small enough chunks so that she could hold the sections without pain. Needless to say, she wasn’t reading hardbacks at all. I bought her a Kindle and suddenly, she could read as much as she wanted– without pain.

What if I have a sight-impairment and reading books in print isn’t possible?

What if I just prefer not to have paper books anymore?

“Let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore.”

Just reading that gets me hot under the collar.

Let Them Read Print!

That sentiment, so full of privilege, set off a revolution back in 1790. The point is not what Marie Antoinette ACTUALLY said, but the danger of the privileged elite telling the unwashed masses to solve their unhappy conditions by simply doing something else–that happens to be impossible– is a warning that’s endured for more than 200 years.

It’s offensive. It reeks of King’s privileged position in life. I’m sure he has a car and the time and money to drive to his nearest bookstore and buy all the print books he wants. He’s sighted (to the best of my knowledge). He’s completely oblivious to all the reasons a reader might not be able to read his book in print.

It’s also judgmental about format and preferences that are not his. What if I don’t want to read in paper? What if I’ve found that reading on a digital device is a far better reading experience for me?

Why should you have any say at all in how I purchase and read a book?

If I were a reader, and I am, I’d be pretty damn pissed off. And guess what? I am.



9 Responses to “You’re Just Too Lazy to go the Bookstore”

  1. Karen Ranney says:

    I had the same reaction to King’s statement.

    For any writer to be so pejorative to his readers comes across as arrogant. Since I haven’t read King for ages, he hasn’t lost any sales from me. But his comment – and attitude – seems to indicate an ignorance about the market.

    I read half my non-fiction in paper and half digitally. All of my fiction reading is done on my IPad or my Kindle.
    I know I’m not alone in preferring a digital purchase – or liking to buy a book in the middle of the night.

  2. Angela Booth says:

    Carolyn, I completely agree.

    I have books all over the house. In every room. And in the garage. These days, I avoid paper where I can. If it isn’t a reference book, or a older Out of Print book which just isn’t available as an ebook, I won’t buy paper.

    Like your mother, my mother has problems holding hardcovers and paperbacks too. She loves her Kindle because it’s so light.

    Stephen King can do what he likes of course, but I can’t see that he’s helping bookstores by doing this.

    • Me, too. I buy paper for reference books or other I can’t get any other way. But for the latter, sometimes I look around my room and think, “where would I even put another book?” I’m tired, now, of paper books that sit in my TBR gathering dust and turning yellow or just disintegrating as cheap paper will do. In defense of my living space, I’ve thrown out dozens of books unread. I don’t want to carry them around with me anymore, in the hopes of a few minutes in which to read…

      I wince when people say they’ll lend me a paper book. No! I will lose it! It will clog up my already overstuffed room.

      Digital books, however, eventually get read. They’re ALL with me, pretty much all the time.

  3. llaph says:

    so right on so many accounts.
    I have over 2k books right now (they all fit on a pin drive, the ones I have not bought that are on my phone)… I certainly wouldn’t be able to do that with hardbacks or paperbacksGranted I am blind and I can’t read print anymore, but I am so happy that there are different formats now that I can read/listen to. (I love my library for the visually impaired that helps make that possible.)

    Since I can’t really go out and buy print books being able to buy them online/on my phone makes it so much easier to get a fix. I bought my darkest passion the day it came out and didn’t have to worry about getting a ride. Instant gratification right there….

    The privilaged few that don’t ever have to worry about doing something different annoy me. I am sure if he went blind )god forbid that happens I wouldn’t wish that on anyone) I am sure his tune would change.
    That or he would just hire or get a fan to read to him … pffft.

  4. Anna says:

    What an a$$hat! As if all genres of writing can be found in print. As if all authors’ books are available at the bookstore without a special order. As if all countries have equal access to books.

    I read King. I enjoyed his books. (Yes, they are damn heavy and thick!) The Stand has a special place on my keeper shelf and there’s a couple more I’d like to read, but it’s hard to like him as a person when he makes ignorant comments like that. To be so priviledged! To be so far removed from the literary world and its readers! What an a$$hat!

  5. Finger in the dam?

  6. Larisa says:

    E-reading kept me sane for the year it took me to recover from breaking my dominant arm and wrist in an ice fall. Add in arthritis in my hands and ereaders are essential for me to feed my lifelong reading habit without unnecessary pain. I still read paperbacks and hard covers from the library if the book isn’t available in e-format. I buy a rare few books each year, fairly evenly split between all three formats, via the internet.
    Shopping for books on the internet, or by catalog, is no different than shopping for any other item…not lazy, it is utilizing the mechanism that works best for me.

  7. Samantha: Well, yes, you are right. Digital is here to stay. That doesn’t mean Print is doomed.

    Larisa: Exactly!