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Stephen King reveals The Plant profit

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Horror maestro Stephen King has revealed he made nearly half a million dollars from his e-book experiment The Plant.

The US author received a total of $721,448 from readers, who voluntarily paid their dollar for the first three instalments, and $2 for the last three. After expenses, such as advertising and site maintenance, King said he made a grand profit of $463,832. While the publishers made nothing.

He suspended the project in December after six chapters. Despite sales wilting for later sections of the book (120,000 eager surfers paid to download the first instalment, but only 40,000 downloaded the fifth, with many not paying), King vows to return to the book. "The Plant is not finished online. It is only on hiatus. I am no more done than the producers of Survivor are done. I am simply in the process of fulfilling my other commitments."

King said the e-book, which netted the same profit as his first online experiment Riding The Bullet ($2.50 a pop), had been "quite successful".

But King, who added that many people came up to him and said the couldn't wait to get their noses buried in The Plant "when it's in book form", cautioned against reading too much into the profit figures.

"Neither the sums generated nor the future of publishing is the point. The point is trying some new things; pushing some new buttons and seeing what happens," his Website states.

Back in July King threatened the project could become "Big Publishing's worst nightmare". ®

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