King to Take Hiatus from 'The Plant'
Calvin Reid -- 12/4/00

It looks like bestselling author and erstwhile e-publisher Stephen King will take a sabbatical from writing new installments of The Plant.

Next month King will post the sixth installment of his online serial, which also doubles as an experiment to determine whether his readers will pay for the work by the honor system. But according to the Stephen King Web site (, the sixth installment will be it for now. King said he needs to work on several other books in progress. He also noted that his agent thinks he needs "to take a breather" so that foreign translation and publication of The Plant can catch up with the U.S. publication.

Other factors that contributed to King's decision were a decline in the number of downloads for each installment, as well as a drop in the number of people paying for the work. Fewer than 50% of the downloads for the latest installment were paid for, well below King's 75% threshold. King said he plans to offer part six of The Plant free of charge, "as a way of thanking those readers (somewhere between 75 and 80 percent) who came along for the ride and paid their dues."

King also told his fans not to worry--he will likely finish The Plant some day: "I'm sure it can survive a year or two while I work on other projects." But when it d s return, he said, "it will once more be on a pay-as-you-go basis."