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Stephen King wants "Under the Dome" to help bookstores

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Hoping to prevent the creation of a retail landscape in which bookstores start going down like dominos, super-author Stephen King will hold back the release of the electronic version of his latest novel, "Under the Dome," scheduled to appear in hardback on Nov. 10. According to Scribner, King's publisher, the e-book version will not become available till 12:01 am on Dec. 24.

And despite the drastic discounting of bestsellers announced this month by various large retailers, the list price for the "Under the Dome" e-book will be $35 (although retailers, of course, can always discount).

It's not as if King has anything against e-books. On the contrary, in addition to being a self-confessed (and very happy) Kindle owner, King has been an e-book innovator from the start.  His 2000 e-novella "Riding the Bullet" was first published for free online and, early this year, when Amazon.com brought out a new edition of the Kindle, King's novella "Ur" was sold exclusively through the new Kindle.

But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, King said that he wanted to help both independent bookstores and national bookstore chains sell the hardcover edition of his book. "I never thought we'd see people preordering a copy for $8.98," he said. "My thinking was to give bookstores a chance to make some money."

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