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."
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."
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.<br>Retweet this if you're from Maine (or even if you're not). Tell the paper DON'T DO THIS.—@StephenKing
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.
These are challenging times for newspapers. But here’s an offer: If you can get 100 of your followers to buy digital subscriptions to the <a href="https://twitter.com/PressHerald?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PressHerald</a>, we will reinstate the local book reviews immediately. Use the promo code KING. Deal? <a href="https://t.co/5eoqjQ2psV">https://t.co/5eoqjQ2psV</a>—@PressHerald
The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald has agreed to reinstate local book reviews if 100 people subscribe. Sales pitch? Blackmail? Either way, 71 people have subscribed so far. Are there 29 more Twitterheads out there who want to ante up? Just asking.—@StephenKing
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.)"
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. The paper thanked you guys. Also thanked me. (And misspelled my name.)—@StephenKing
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.