Jonathan Franzen has spoken out against the rise of eBooks at a literary festival in Cartagena, Colombia.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the author of bestselling novels "The Corrections" and "Freedom" argued in a press conference that eBooks can never replace print.
"The technology I like is the American paperback edition of "Freedom." 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…
"I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change…
""The Great Gatsby" was last updated in 1924. You don’t need it to be refreshed, do you?"
As The Guardian points out, Franzen's character Walter Berglund in "Freedom" seemed to feel a similar angst at the disruption of modern technology, saying at one point, "All the real things, the authentic things, the honest things, are dying off."
This isn't new territory for Frazen - back in 2007, when the first Kindle appeared on the scene, he told the LA Times that "the difference between Shakespeare on a BlackBerry and Shakespeare in the Arden Edition is like the difference between vows taken in a shoe store and vows taken in a cathedral," adding "Am I fetishizing ink and paper? Sure, and I'm fetishizing truth and integrity too."
Despite his reservations, Franzen's books are all available as eBooks, of course, and The Independent claimed in 2010 that at least 350,000 digital copies of "Freedom" had been sold that year.
Franzen is not the only successful traditional author to speak out against digital publishing. See below for a list of others:
"I hate them. It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book! A book is a book is a book." Source: The Guardian
"Anything longer than a letter or a poem is tiresome for me to read on the screen. I read fast, carelessly, superficially on the screen, and don't enjoy it... I'll read what I can on paper, and make do with text on screen only if I have to." Source: NWBookLovers
"Jeff Bezos has been quoted as saying "he wants to change the way people read." I don't know what he means... But 75-95% of music is pirated... I'd be really worried if I was a writer of bestsellers and all my books were digitized, how easy it will be for their books to be pirated." Source: The Colbert Report
"It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd." Source: The Daily Telegraph Photo: Alamy
"Those aren't books. You can't hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn't do that for you." Source: The Paris Review Photo: Alamy
You can't burn a Kindle. Source: The Colbert Report