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Summary:

There’s a mud-covered station wagon parked in a rest stop off the Maine Turnpike. It has no license plates and no driver. And it is killing…

Mile 81

There’s a mud-covered station wagon parked in a rest stop off the Maine Turnpike. It has no license plates and no driver. And it is killing anybody who gets too close. Klout “influencers” will find out why a week earlier than the general population.

Simon & Schuster’s Scribner division is releasing Stephen King’s e-single, “Mile 81,” on social influence calculator site Klout (which recently partnered with Spotify) as a free download for a week before the e-single officially goes on sale for $2.99 on September 1. The e-single is bundled with the first chapter of King’s upcoming book 11/22/63, which will be released in November.

This is Klout’s first partnership with a publisher. “We expect to see more publishers looking to release their works to Klout influencers first,” the company’s marketing manager, Megan Berry, told me.

“Mile 81″ is being offered as a Klout Perk to “a select number of Klout influencers.” At the moment, it is not showing up on my own Klout Perks page. Either I’m not influential enough or not deemed right for this perk: As Klout explains in a blog post, “Our goal is to provide Perks to the people who are in the best position to speak intelligently about a product to an engaged and interested audience.”

According to Klout, I am an influencer in “publishing,” “Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle,” and “e-books.” However, the Klout Perks currently offered to me include discounts on rock climbing and free anti-hangover energy drinks. It seems as if the e-single would be a better fit, but apparently not. I may never find out why that old station wagon is killing people.

  1. As it turns out I did have that available in my list of Klout Perks (much to my surprise, since I don’t have a terribly high Klout score.) The experience of getting the book was a nightmare, though: rather than tying it into Amazon’s or Apple’s online bookstores, Simon and Schuster is selling this through their web site using Adobe’s DRM system. That meant downloading Adobe’s Digital Editions software (which, their instructions note, doesn’t work in Safari, so I had to switch to Firefox); install it; remember what my Adobe ID is; go back and download the eBook from S&S’s site; and then finally open it in Adobe’s software.

    To get it to my iPad, I had to go through additional steps, including installing a new reader software (Bluefire) since it doesn’t work with iBooks or Kindle, and then use Dropbox to transfer the file to my iPad. That’s lot of work for a free eBook; few authors other than King would have been worth that much effort! It didn’t leave me with a terribly good impression of the overall system, so it’s fortunate for them that I’m not nearly as influential as they think!

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