Is online book publishing ready for prime time?

On Barnesandnoble.com alone, more than 200,000 customers request free copies of the story in a 24-hour promotion, a vote of confidence for the upstart technology.

Spines are tingling across the book industry over Stephen King's latest story, a not-quite novel experiment in digital publishing that is shaping up as a major test of the mass consumer appeal of e-books.
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