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The LOOP Print Emailer


The LOOP Print Emailer

Friday 24 March 2000



Horror master Stephen King has joined the ranks of e-authors and inspired a melee of frantic downloading. ing's novella Riding the Bullet was made available through web-lit luminaries such as and The 66-page ghost story drew 400, 000 orders in its first 24 hours online.

Although some sites are charging up to US$2.50 for the download, others (including Amazon) provide it free. The overwhelming interest has lead to clogged and crashing servers, and a frustrating wait for eager downloaders. King describes his first e-foray as a "watershed moment", and is considering an internet-only serial novel which, he says, "would force a lot of people to read online".

Despite making an estimated US$450,000 from Riding the Bullet, King remains quietly skeptical about the future of web publishing. He told Time magazine that the internet is still too slow and difficult for many people to embrace as an alternative to traditional media, and points out that, as a Macintosh user, he could not download his own e-book, which was only available in PC-readable formats. Despite flirting with the idea of an online novel, King is no net nerd - he is currently working and writing, literally, longhand.

King has recently upped his lucrative 50/50 profit-share contract with New York publishers Simon & Schuster. The deal covers King's next three books, two novels and a collection of short stories. The Green Mile, one of King's most recent works, has been adorned with Tom Hanks and is currently dragging audiences into movie theatres everywhere. One must wait patiently for the day when the new Stephen King film instead draws folk to their monitor for a private online premiere.

- Mark Ballinger


Jonar C Nader, author of the best-selling book How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People, has defied threats of legal action made by Dale Carnegie & Associates and Ms Donna Dale Carnegie by officially releasing his book in the USA and Canada this week.

The Carnegies are claiming that Nader's book is unfairly competing with their title, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Nader is dismissing the claim, saying that his title is not just attractive, but completely descriptive of the content of the book: "What gives them the right to own an 'opposite'? If someone writes a book called How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off how can they expect to stop someone else from writing a legitimate book called How to Gain Weight and Keep it On?"

"I am fighting because it is in my nature, and because I want to show the world that there is a better way; that we can stand up against bullies and be counted; and that we must do what must be done, even if we have to lose friends and infuriate people - or lose money and infuriate the establishment," says Nader.

In Australia and NZ alone, over 30,000 books are now in print, with current demand forcing reprints every two weeks. The North American version debuts to a pent-up demand of over 6,200 copies - despite having his entire launch campaign cancelled when his American publicist dumped his project fearing a backlash from the powerful Carnegie empire. Orders have flooded in from stores across North America, including Borders, Barnes & Noble and

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Current Landfall editor Chris Price has decided to call it a day after almost seven years with NZ's longest-running literary journal, and welcomes Justin Paton as the new editor. Paton, 27, is well-known as an art critic for The Listener and Art New Zealand. Asked where he wants the journal to go, Paton says: "I want Landfall to go where it has gone since the start - into the hands and minds of readers for whom words really count.... I want Landfall to remain a place for readers who are passionate citizens rather than consumers." Landfall 200, due in November 2000, will be co-edited by Chris Price and Justin Paton to ease the transition from one editor to the next.

NZ author Kapka Kassabova has won the best first book category for the 2000 Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the SE Asia and South Pacific region for her novel Reconnaisance. Kapka will travel to New Delhi in April, where Reconnaissance will compete for the best overall first book against winners from the other regions. Reconnaissance was published by Penguin Books NZ in February 1999 to wide critical acclaim.

Aphrodite Jones, author of All She Wanted, a book about the 1993 murder of Teena Brandon, is settling her $1 million-plus lawsuit with Fox Searchlight for an undisclosed sum. All She Wanted was acquired by Searchlight in December 1997 and held for a year. Jones alleges it was then abandoned for a competing project, Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry, bought by Searchlight at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. The settlement ends another chapter in the legal problems surrounding the studio's acclaimed feature film Boys Don't Cry. Earlier this month, Lana Tisdel (portrayed by Oscar-nominated Chloe Sevigny) - the former girlfriend of slain teenager Teena Brandon - settled with the studio for an undisclosed sum. (Billboard, LA)

Nearly 40 years after the suicide of American poet Sylvia Plath, her complete journals are about to be published - an event that her admirers hope will illuminate some of the dark corners of a turbulent life. Excerpts from The Journals of Sylvia Plath will be serialized in The Guardian newspaper. The book will be published next month in London by Faber and Faber. The diaries "contain a string of intimate disclosures that shed new light on the complexity of Plath's sexuality, her depression and her hatred of her mother," writes Katherine Viner of The Guardian. (AP, London)

Language purists no longer have to shuffle through 20 volumes to look up one of nearly 640,000 words and phrases dissected in the Oxford English Dictionary. The reference book is now a few keystrokes away at Oxford University Press launched an online dictionary service Tuesday, charging individuals $550 for a yearly subscription and companies or institutions $795. The OED traces word use through more than 2.4 million popular quotations by figures from Shakespeare to Tarantino. The second edition is also available on CDrom and in a 20-volume book set, but the online version will be updated quarterly with at least 1,000 new and revised entries. (AP, London)



OFF THE EATEN TRACK (Siren, $24.95)
This funky package invites readers to "discover the Wellington region with a packed lunch", as local writers provide 38 tales of outdoor eating sites and food suggestions, illustrated with images from 9 photographers. Publishers Siren Advertising and Design are donating the profits to Wellington Forest Revegetation - good call - and the project has the LOOP seal of approval (we contribute). This one's been out for a while - if you haven't taken a look already, grab it now, before the weather really turns to shit.

After hanging out with Terrance McKenna, larging it at the Burning Man festival in Nevada, and taking enough DMT to throw his brain more than a little out of wack, Ian Winn came to the stunning realisation that he might be the next Messiah - the Techno-Pagan Octopus Messiah in fact, poet of dubious talent and author of this bizzare chronicle of travels through Egypt, Rajastan and northern India. Winn has a coherant sort of insanity, and it makes this travelogue an interesting, entertaining and informative read.


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