King added approximately 150,000 words to the new edition; the difference from the 1978 paperback and the 1990 paperback is 324 pages.
The biggest change is the year in which the novel is set. In the 1978 edition, the story begins in June 1985; in this expanded edition, it has been moved ahead to June 1990. I was unable to find an official reason for moving the date of the plague ahead five years.
With that change, King went through the original edition, making edits to single words and short phrases (updating various brand names, prices of items, etc.), adding more character background and development, inserting some of the material that was cut from the 1978 edition, and writing new material for this new edition.
Ann Carter, reviewing the complete edition for the Sun Sentinel in 1990:
Scenes also have been expanded, putting in dialogue, action, description and recollection that don't add much to the story, but do a great job of slowing it down. ... Some of the details not only detour the story, but take away one privilege: imagination. ... [T]he most positive thing that can be said for the 1990 The Stand is what it reveals about King`s talent as an editor: He was able to cut 400 pages from his original manuscript, and I never missed them.Here is what I wrote about the expanded version this past February:
Many sections went on and on, and I felt King could have told us more than enough in five pages rather than 12. But when I slowed down and read each sentence carefully, it did not seem indulgent or redundant or excessive. King was simply taking his time, relishing the details of his apocalyptic tale. If you concentrated, he wasn't boring. I simply wanted the story to move along at a much quicker pace.Trivia: In the uncut version, Frannie Goldsmith is reading Rimfire Christmas, a western novel written by Bobbi Anderson (the main character in The Tommyknockers).
Next: Four Past Midnight.