Blog·q

Stephen King convinces Maine newspaper not to cut local book reviews

"There are countries where the arts are considered vital," writes King. "Too bad this isn't one of them."

"There are countries where the arts are considered vital," writes King. "Too bad this isn't one of them."

Portland, Maine native Stephen King convinced his local paper to keep running local book reviews by getting dozens of his followers to subscribe. (famousauthors.com)

It's no secret the newspaper industry is struggling, and one of the hardest hit areas has been coverage of local books. 

Instead of running original reviews, many publications either run syndicated reviews of national books or have no book reviews at all.

It looked as though Maine authors were about to meet the same fate when the The Portland Press Herald announced the paper and its sister publication, Maine Sunday Telegram, were cutting their local book reviews — that is, until one of the bestselling authors of all time stepped in.

"The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram will no longer publish local, freelance-written reviews of books about Maine, set in Maine, or written by Maine authors," wrote legendary novelist Stephen King, who is from Portland, Maine, on Twitter.

"Retweet this if you're from Maine (or even if you're not). Tell the paper DON'T DO THIS."

But instead of going ahead with their plan, the papers challenged King to get 100 new digital subscribers; if he did, they would keep the reviews.

King took up the challenge and passed it along to his more than five million followers.

In the end, the paper reached its goal of more than 100 new subscribers — but they may also want to invest some of those funds in a proofreader.

"Thanks to everybody who subscribed to the Press-Herald. You saved the day. There are countries where the arts are considered vital. Too bad this isn't one of them," wrote King on Twitter.

"The paper thanked you guys. Also thanked me. (And misspelled my name.)"

Answered one follower, "Don't worry, dude. Any day now you'll be a big enough author that the papers will get your name right!"

The company, which oversees five publications, says the papers are "Maine's most recognized journalism brands," and that they are delivered to 1.3 million homes and to 2.5 million visitors online.

Stephen KIng is the author behind horror, thriller and sci-fi novels including Carrie, The Shining, Pet Cemetery, The Green Mile, Christine, The Stand, The Dead Zone and many others.

He has published 58 novels and six non-fiction books as well as roughly 200 short stories. His books have sold more than 350 million copies. 

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.