Jonathan Franzen: E-readers are 'Damaging to Society'
From the Christian Science Monitor:
Jonathan Franzen doesn’t want you to read his bestsellers on e-readers. The acclaimed novelist of “Freedom” and “The Corrections” launched a tirade against e-books at a recent literary event, calling them “not for serious readers” and “damaging to society.”
“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of ‘Freedom,’” Franzen said at the Festival. “I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it’s pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model,” said the novelist who famously cuts off all connection to the Internet when he writes.
Franzen isn’t the first to come out against e-books, but he may be the first to have attacked them so damningly, as incompatible with justice or responsible self-government. He went on, explaining that he felt reassured by paper books’ permanence and distrusted the constant possibility of change in an e-book.
“Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do,” Franzen said at the event. “When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that’s reassuring.”
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.