Franzen Says eBooks Are The Worst

Franzen Says eBooks Are The Worst

via The Telegraph

Jonathan Franzen does not like eBooks. He said so recently at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia.

He offers a few reasons for why he dislikes them:

  • He can spill water on a real book and it will be fine.
  • The Great Gatsby was last updated in 1924 and does it need to be updated again?
  • Someone worked really hard on the language of a printed book.

His biggest problem with them, though, is a perceived lack of permanence in digital text.

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... But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that. That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.

So, yes, eBooks are equivalent to anarchy. (You can't see it, but I just rolled my eyes so hard I sprained a muscle). 

A lot of people hate on eBooks and eReaders, and I have yet to hear someone make a legitimate argument about why they're bad. Instead we hear a lot of arguments like Franzen's, riddled with elitism and vague notions of art and beauty. 

Is there really artistry to a mass-produced novel? Did Franzen go through every page of Freedom before it was printed so that all the indents and section breaks were the image of pure beauty? C'mon. If he really cared about that kind of thing--if anyone did--then he should be advocating that we go back to pre-Gutenberg days, when books were hand-written. 

You can love books and that's fine. You can love eBooks and that's fine, too. I don't care who or what people love. Not my business. What does bother me is when guys like Franzen makes it sound like you can't be a "serious reader" unless you read printed books. (By his definition, I'm not a serious reader, and I take issue with that.)

The print vs. eBook battle is something we've touched on at LitReactor before (I've written about it, and so has John Jarzemsky.) What do you think, dear readers? Am I just being touchy because it's Monday morning and my coffee hasn't soaked in yet? Or is Franzen being an elitist prick? 

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Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 30, 2012 - 9:33am

It's like Harold Bloom saying audiobooks are bad. A sign we should start ignoring Bloom and Franzen.

James Storie's picture
James Storie from Alabama is reading The Fireman January 30, 2012 - 9:34am

I have yet to jump on the E book, or E reader train. I have no problems with them at all. People are going to read how they read, I myself just like the feel and smell of a printed book, but to each their own. 

William Cash's picture
William Cash from Iowa, now Nevada is reading Proofreading my own work at the moment. January 30, 2012 - 9:34am

Where can I find this jackass so I can kick him in the bollocks? Seriously!

The printed word is the printed word, so now it matters on what medium it appears in?

Oh, yeah, and people work pretty damned hard on their E-Books, too, buster. Bite me.

If it wasn't for E-Books, I would never have been able to get published when I was. Why? Because of this self-same elitist snobbery and looking-down-the-nose behaviour.

Yeah, Franzen...go suck a live electrical wire.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift January 30, 2012 - 9:38am

Elitist prick. Definitely. Maybe, since he feels so strongly about it, he should make it part of his future contracts that none of his work is ever available in digital format. That'll show 'em.

alisia's picture
alisia from Byron, NY is reading The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt January 30, 2012 - 9:52am

It's worth mentioning that the world continues to grow, and that means lots of new writers. This means a lot more books printed on paper and using plastic and things to bind them. Ereaders are great for the environment. We have specific knowledge of libraries burning vast amounts of unread books, there are plenty of books that never get sold, bestsellers even. They end up burned or piled up in a dump. Bookstores never donate these books. They would rather throw them away than create a volitile market by making the books available for much cheaper or free.

Sure a bound book may be better to some, but not every book is a grand literary achievement that will be read over and over again. Some books are a read once and then the reader moves on or sells it and eventually it ends up in a dump... E-readers are better for the environment and that's something that negates every argument. To say something that is going to save millions of books from the trash is anarchy is certainly an unresearched, biased statement and he needs to rethink it. The world is inspiration for art - the beauty of it, the people on it and the anarchy in it - finding new ways to preserve it is the only way we will still be writing from it in the future.

Tim's picture
Tim from Philadelphia is reading approximately eight different books. Most unsuccessfully. January 30, 2012 - 10:00am

Hmm. Kinda sounds like an EP. First off, I don't buy his permanence argument. In fact, I don't even follow it. How does he get from "digital text" to "not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government". And don't even start me on the permanence of text. Text is useless unless it is read. A bunch of books on a shelf are doorstops until the brain interprets the marks on the paper. A book is just a storage device for ideas. I love real books but I realize it is more a fetish than anything else, just like those who prefer vinyl LPs over digital music. Besides, there's not much more fluid and ethereal than ideas no matter where you store them or read them. And whether stored in a book, a digital file, or a brain, they are just as susceptible to destruction, either by fire, by deletion, or just by forgetting.

Christine Hnath's picture
Christine Hnath January 30, 2012 - 10:01am

I'm delighted by the prevalence of eReaders, because it means people are actually reading.  I, for one, have always been an avid reader, but since I got a Kindle, I have been reading more ferociously than ever before.  There's something to be said for being able to buy and read a book as soon as I hear about it, instead of waiting to go to the store.  I sometimes miss the weight of a book in my hands while I'm reading, but I've got dozens of "real" books at home that I can hold for as long as I want whenever the mood strikes me.

Just like how the iPod did not mean the death of music, and the photograph did not mean the death of art, the eReader is not the death of literature.  It's just moving from an old medium to a new one--the content is not dead or gone.  On the contrary, technology moves quickly enough today that we can even have both media functioning concurrently.   

Komal J Verma's picture
Komal J Verma from London January 30, 2012 - 10:03am

Oh, ok I wouldn't go so far as to term him an elitist prick and I am in total agreement about the idea of permanence. Everything is floating on digital 'no space'. And print on a screen is NOT the same as a the printed word on paper. I do believe in the artistry of that form (the latter that is). 

But I would not claim that you cannot be a serious reader if you do not read actual, bound books. I am not going to subscribe to e-readers but as a writer, I have no qualms about my work being up there if that is what the populace now do. I may not like it but I don't understand the need for such violent reactions to what is his opinion - it's not a fact, it's a point of view. 



Dennis TheMenace's picture
Dennis TheMenace January 30, 2012 - 10:13am

Have to admit that I wasn't a real fan of e-books as well, but when my mother got one I saw the real advantages of them. At first I was like "well you get headaches reading from a screen". Well as you may know you don't, at least with the new ones. I had several other prejudices, but they all turned out differently. So in the end I still like the classical book, because its just nice to have it (just as I like buying CD instead of downloading music) but to save space and also money, if you want to read a lot of classical books, its a real nice product.

Kirk's picture
Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun January 30, 2012 - 10:15am

I would argue that digital books are MORE permanent than paper ones so long as digital archivists are doing their jobs properly.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day January 30, 2012 - 10:45am

In a world where reading a full length novel is diminishing in popularity, doesn't strike me as a good idea to rail against any method that gets those words in someone's hands.

Taylor's picture
Taylor from Durango, Colorado but living in Portland, Oregon is reading The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart January 30, 2012 - 11:07am

Haha. I am currently "reading" Jonathan Frazen's Freedom as an audiobook on my iPhone. How less permanent can you get? He must not have had an issue with his words being transfered into digital audio. I wasn't a huge fan of audiobooks at first (I do LOVE to see the word on the page), but now that my life is so busy and I spend two hours a day commuting, I find the only time I get to read is in the car while driving to work. Better than not reading at all, I'd say.

Even though I own a Nook and an iPad, I've not yet switched to eReading, if mostly because I have as little time to sit and read a digital book as a paper one. That said, since I was a kid, I'd pretty much read anything, a book, the back of a cereal box, a website, a street sign.

I love the printed word and respect it as a visual art form in itself, in my mind, STORY can come in whatever method works for the "reader."

When my dad went blind about 15 years ago, he was most unhappy about losing the ability to read. He's a VORACIOUS reader. He learned some Braille, but it was too slow for him. Audiobooks, eReaders, screen readers, and similar technology make reading accessible to him. In fact, I think he reads more now than ever--everything from technical manuals to the classics! Those who think literature can only live in physical print are, at best, stupid. Remember, folks, there was a time when stories were NOT written down at all and people who could NOT read could still be amazing storytellers and connoisseurs of language. Homer, anyone? How about folk songs? Poetry? It amazes me how even a celebrated writer like Franzen could forget what's so amazing about words to begin with, and how they can live in so many forms--as sounds, music, visual. I bet there were people who at one time preferred a spoken story to a typeset one because that form seemed more pure to them. Typesetting (and the world of grammar, punctuation, margin spacing, style manuals, etc. that grew up around it) was once a "new" technology.

It's never been the medium that matters anyway, all literature is valid, regardless of the format. That's why we are here, isn't it? I'm sad that Franzen seems to have forgotten that.


Lorraine Devon Wilke's picture
Lorraine Devon Wilke from LA (by way of Chicago) is reading The Night Porter by Mark Barry January 30, 2012 - 11:08am

What on earth does a delivery system have to do with the permanence, the value of, or the work put into the words a writer writes?? The work I put into what I write has NOTHING whatsoever to do with which delivery system it is delivered on, nor is a a damn word changed unless I say so. How is "permanence of language" any more or less permanent based on what sort of product it's put on - paper, animal, vegetable, mineral or e-reader??

Unlike the audiophiles who argue that analog recording onto LPs is a far better system than digitally compressed music on an Ipod, a techical difference that actually CAN be detected by those who care about such deviations, the difference between the word "the" on a printed book and the "the" that shows up on a computer or Kindle screen is...NON EXISTENT.

As we make our way through the swirling eddies of the digital evolution in publishing, much as we did in music, film, and photography, we will get the Chicken Littles, the elitists, the purists and the nose-sniffers who will caterwaul about "art being lost to technology" but life - and art - has proven that not to be so. More people are reading (listening to music, enjoying photography, etc.) since the internet and e-publishing has come about. That is something to celebrate, not bemoan. 

Sara Thompson's picture
Sara Thompson January 30, 2012 - 11:35am

"Did Franzen go through every page of Freedom before it was printed so that all the indents and section breaks were the image of pure beauty?"  Yes he did! He was unhappy with parts of it after it was published (and on sale) it got recalled pulped and re-printed! I work in the book trade and I don't like e-readers, I like being on the train and seeing what people are reading, Lots of conversations are started over books. I see it every day in my job.

Tbe whole digital thing is just removing people further away from other people and human interaction.

mephisto1138's picture
mephisto1138 January 30, 2012 - 11:41am

LOL I love that someone on Oprah's book club list is giving anyone any kind of guff about who is and who isn't a serious reader. That's amazing and totally made my morning.

And how is the text ruined? How the text flows from page to page has nothing to do with the words on them, it has to do with the text flow, which a graphic desgner does anyway. I would know, I spend all day doing it. Now in comics, yes, what panels and words are on which page is a big deal.

Is this guy sure HE understands how books work?

And above all else, ebooks are better for environment, so an insult to ebooks is a compliment to deforestation. 

Jonathon Vial's picture
Jonathon Vial January 30, 2012 - 11:44am

Is anyone really surprised at Franzen's comments? I mean, seriously, the guy has never come off an everyman writer. He's self-involved and arrogant when it comes to his literature (please read that as tongue-in-cheek; I find the whole literature hierarchy and elitism as tired as all get out), and the fact that he disapproves of anything that gets a majority of people reading just shows his level of snobbery and inability to realize that reading and writing isn't the right of just the perceived high-brow literary thinking ego-maniacs and self-important Authors (defnitely with the capital A in Franzen's case). There's basically nothing credible he says anymore. Most of the time he sounds hpynotized by the three and four syllable words and abstract genius and artistic dexterity he's so fond of displaying everywhere but in his work.

Razvan Teodor Coloja's picture
Razvan Teodor Coloja January 30, 2012 - 12:04pm

The truth is I read three times more books since i got an eReader, than before.

Matthew DeFilippo's picture
Matthew DeFilippo January 30, 2012 - 12:06pm

E-reader's are the logical evolution of paper books, especially e-ink based devices. They use actual pigment to display the text and pictures so it very closely replicates ink on paper. The displays are only going to get better as well. 

I don't know how in anyway it moves people further away from eachother and lessens interaction. If you see someone with an e-reader it's actually easier to ask them what they are reading because it isn't obvious. A lot of people have started conversations with me, on the train, because they noticed I had a Kindle. No one has ever tried to interact with me because they saw me reading a paper book.

It's amazing how short-sighted the arguments against e-readers are. I absolutely see solar powerd e-readers happening some day. They use such little power that sooner or later someone will make an e-reader than never needs to be plugged into be charged. Then they will be as permanent if not more so than a book, which does get damaged and sometime unreadable if you spill water on it by the way. 

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this January 30, 2012 - 12:07pm

@Sara - That's a completely different thing, and not at all what I'm saying.

Freedom was recalled for punctuation and typographical errors. Franzen is making the argument that there's some inherent artistry to a printed book that has been mass produced on an assembly line, in which the words have been placed on the page because of decisions (mostly, but not always) made by Microsoft Word. 

Also, it was only recalled in the UK, where an incorrect version on the manuscript was used. So, again, different things. 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. January 30, 2012 - 12:20pm

That guy's funny.  He's joking, right?  

Ats'a good'un.  

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 30, 2012 - 12:34pm

permanence? He's heard about the burning of the Aztec & Alexandrian libraries, right? Text is permanent, it's a pity that paper's so damn combustible.

As for environmental arguments - no way in hell are e-books environmental - the toxic products that go into and come out of their manufacture are not biodigradable. As much as I would like to see the pulp industry replaced with bamboo or hemp paper (better quality too), I know it's still wasteful, but the green argument for e-readers is just a lot of fail.

that said, Franzen's an ass.

Tiff's picture
Tiff from england is reading Jem January 30, 2012 - 12:44pm

..because noone who writes for the Telegraph is an inbred, opinionated, blinkered idiot.


Oh no, wait..

Robert Hasslein's picture
Robert Hasslein January 30, 2012 - 1:18pm

"I have yet to hear someone make a legitimate argument about why [eBooks are] bad."

My main problem with eBooks is one that I have heard literally no one else bring up, and yet I consider it their single biggest potential downside, as well as the sole reason I don't own an eReader. 

If When eBooks become completely standard and replace print books, they will effectively end reading among the poor. 

It's easy and tempting for us affluent first-worlders to frame the whole eBook "debate" in terms of convenience vs. aesthetics.  We ought to stop and consider the fact that the death of print media means, in essence, shutting out an entire segment of the population from being able to read books, a segment that pretty much everyone agrees needs to read more. 

Anyone can afford a used paperback.  Anyone can check out a book from the library.  But if the opportunity to read becomes contingent upon ownership of an electronic veeblfetzer, then reading will stop being a basic comfort and become a luxury, one that is out of reach of literally tens of millions of people. 

Technology isn't as ubiquitous as we think.  When I was in college (mid-to-late 2000s), I lived in a dingy shithole apartment complex that catered to low-income residents.  No one had a smartphone.  About one in twenty, I'd estimate, had a computer; the rest used a communal computer in the manager's office to apply for jobs and such.  These people still had landline phones and wrote letters to distant relatives.  When print books leave the world, do you think these indigents will shell out $100+ for some doohickey just so they can read Runaway Bunny to their kids?  More likely they will just not read the damn story, and you can't blame them.  After all, what's more important, intellectually enriching your children, or feeding them

You could argue that an e-Reader is an investment that pays for itself in time, due to the lower price of eBooks.  But the working class doesn't, as a general rule, make many investments.    You could tell me to buy a $700 washing machine because in the long run it's cheaper than going to the laundromat, but that doesn't help me if I don't have $700 to spare and never will



Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 30, 2012 - 1:19pm

I've never been an early adopter, but I had a chance to get a Kindle cheap and never looked back. I just don't read physical books anymore unless it's a gift or picked up for $0.50 at a used book store. Even then it's like a candle; nice so I keep a few around but I'm not giving up electric lights. The whole adjustable e-ink text is for me so much easier on my eyes.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this January 30, 2012 - 1:31pm

@Robert - I like the spirit of your argument, but I'm not sure it holds up, for a few reasons. 

There's a race to the bottom of eReader pricing right now. I own a Kindle that cost $79. That's approaching impulse-buy territory. It's so cheap I got it even though I already have an iPad. Within the next two years we're going to see an eReader at $49 or lower. Just watch. In fact, I'd wager to say that within the next 10 years, students will be issued some type of eDevice by their schools, allowing low-income families to access digital media. 

I also recognize that even if eReaders cost $10, there will be people who can't afford that. 

But that means they probably also don't have the expendable income necessary to buy books. And just because eReaders are becoming more prevlanet and ubiquitious doesn't mean libraries are going to shut down. 

Your hypothesis works in a world where there are eBooks and only eBooks, with no options for physical books in any form. The only way we're ever going to see that world is if the technology becomes so cheap and ubiquitous that there are no income barriers to digital distribution. 

cburton's picture
cburton January 30, 2012 - 1:33pm

To be honest a lot of the rebuttal and commentary sounds like it's coming from cyberage, digital elitist pricks who are every bit as obnoxious as Franzen. So he worries that digitally stored and formatted literature is going to be corrupted in the same manner that oral tradition corrupted the original versions of Beowulf and The Illiad. So he thinks that the physical aspects of the book enhance the reading experience. Does what he thinks really matter? And is it really that big of a stretch of the imagination to believe that the design, layout, and format of a book have an imapct of the reader? Dr Seuss wrote poetry, but would Green Eggs and Ham be at all the same literature without the illustrations the author intended to include. would it be the same in black and white or with the text arranged in a single column on the left with illustrations in a single column on the right? It's a silly example but it makes the point that formatting is important and can have a great effect on the text. will civilization as we know it end because you downloaded Hop on Pop ? No. But you're likely to get a very different experience of the text than if you read it as a book. I can't say that the book version is better than the download but I do know it will not be the same.

Deirdre Lewis's picture
Deirdre Lewis January 30, 2012 - 1:37pm

Ugh, Franzen gives me such a rash.What would he do without something to complain about? He and his books are so tiresome.

Ryan Olsen's picture
Ryan Olsen January 30, 2012 - 2:59pm

...and his is why the world hates hipsters.

Kasey's picture
Kasey from the morally and physically challenging plains of Texas is reading 12pt. Courier font January 30, 2012 - 3:29pm

I read this article for the title.  Fortunately everyone's arguments cancel each other out.  

Robert Hasslein's picture
Robert Hasslein January 30, 2012 - 4:08pm

@Rob, you're right of course.  Physical books will never disappear completely; I was perhaps being a bit hyperbolic.  But I still believe that eBooks will not have a deleterious effect on the reading habits of the poorer portions of population. 

For a historical analogue to this effect, one has only to look back to the earlier part of the last century, in a time before television, when recreational reading was true popular entertainment and not just a fancy thing that smart people did.  Reading was universal: the short stories in the Saturday Evening Post might be read aloud to entertain the family, or a factory worker might while away his lunch break with a pulp detective novel.  Authors and publishers actively courted the poorer, less educated demographic. 

But as television became the storytelling medium of choice, recreational reading fell among the lower classes and became the province of "serious" readers, with education and time to spare.  As a result, both authors and readers grew more cloistered and elitist. The stories became less accessible. Books became more expensive.  Those working-class folks who still wanted to read were deterred by the lack of books marketed toward them.  (Look around a bookstore.  How many books look like they were written with a working-class audience in mind?) 

Thanks to all these factors, reading is appallingly scarce among the poor today.  It's appalling because reading comprehension skills are more important than ever in today's job market.  And now we've introduced yet another obstacle, by creating a new kind of book that you have to buy a gadget to use.  What the fuck are we thinking? 

(I realize that citing television as the cause of this phenomenon undercuts my original argument somewhat, since a television is an expensive gadget that the poor ARE willing to spend money on. But hopefully you can pick out the useful points in my rambling.) 


Kirk's picture
Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun January 30, 2012 - 4:22pm

Though I do agree with most of your points, Robert, I do think your view might be a tad short-sighted.

If there is one thing that technology often allows it is increased accessibility, even to the poor. It's too early for us to see, since eBooks are still pretty new but if you look at past technology has a way of becoming more and more affordable. 

This is why even people in the poorest countries own cell phones today and to your point, many of them even have televisions. The Kindle, when released, was $399. It is now $79 and that is in fewer than 4 years. Believe me, if Amazon can figure out a way to give them away for free, they will.

When you look out 10 years it is realistic to see eBooks being less than $20. When coupled with the benefits of not being 'real' you can see a case where they could really benefit people, even those in developing countries.

Just imagine what it would mean for a small school in a developing country to be able to get 5 different text books for each student, without having to deal with the physical burden of those books. That seems like a huge advantage to me.

There is no question that they are currently luxury items, but there is no reason to believe that won't change.

Rex Francis's picture
Rex Francis from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia is reading God Emperor Of Dune January 30, 2012 - 4:53pm

Nobody wants to say it, not even Franzen, but the reason e-readers are a concern is because it's much more likely that a published author will be ripped off by consumers who don't want to pay for anything they can copy or download illegally. This situation is similar to the digital audio revolution, with access to burnable cds and mp3 technology enabling the end user to basically gut the music industry and make it uneconomical for a musician to earn a crust from their work. If Franzen had said this I would agree, but he didn't. Probably because he wouldn't want to come off as "greedy."

The e-reader is a fantastic means of distribution, but it's as likely to be another platform for piracy as any other technology. Maybe Franzen sees it this way, maybe not. I for one, as a writer, am cautious.

Jeff Pilcher's picture
Jeff Pilcher January 30, 2012 - 5:33pm

I teach AP English, and have looked into the research that is available regarding use of the e-reader. Your statement that "A lot of people hate on eBooks and eReaders, and I have yet to hear someone make a legitimate argument about why they're bad. Instead we hear a lot of arguments like Franzen's, riddled with elitism and vague notions of art and beauty." is slightly misinformed. There is actually research that indicates readers that utilize an e-reader retain less information and actually read and process the information differently.   

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 30, 2012 - 7:18pm

@Jeff Pilcher - any references to this research would be appreciated..

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this January 30, 2012 - 7:53pm

@Jeff - Here's a story I wrote for LitrReactor about how there was little difference in comprehension between ebooks and print books in a quick study of young children.

There was a drop off with enhanced ebooks, which is a different thing than what we're discussing.

While I will allow that there are studies refuting my statement, there are also studies supporting it.

SGJ's picture
SGJ from Midland, Texas (but in Boulder, Colorado, now) is reading weird fiction and horror fiction and science fiction and literary fiction and innovative fiction, or maybe a romance or a western or a magazine on bowhunting or show trucks or anthropology January 30, 2012 - 8:26pm

yeah, I gree with whoever up there was saying it doesn't matter how you get your fiction, so long as you, you know, get your fiction. I'm all for ebooks, but I love me some paper books, and I love being in a bookstore -- probably more than browsing a digital bookshelf. anyway, could be that we'll finally start reading 'books' like in Diamond Age or Rant. but I don't see the paper ones going away any time soon, either. on a desert island, I'd rather have me a stack of p-books than fifteen-hundred e-ones on a device.

dxarmbar06's picture
dxarmbar06 January 30, 2012 - 8:51pm

I think Amazon is paying you to trump up how great their Kindle is just so they can sell the damn thing. Even if they're not, industries buy good reviews all the time just to push their product, and you can have fun telling people you're reading a "Kindle" when people ask you what you're reading. Nice minimalistic cover-art, also good for reading porn in public.

jl85's picture
jl85 from originally East Tennessee now Southern California is reading everything I can January 31, 2012 - 1:01am

My wife got me a Kindle Touch as a late Christmas present a few weeks ago and I'm loving it. I love going to book stores and buying books (especially indie stores). But at the end of the day it's about the content and not the fucking medium. Seriously, if ebooks and ereaders were so anti-government then why the fuck are we using computers and keyboards? It's just the natural evolution of the world in my opinion. I will always love printed books that are tangible I can hold, but it's the same arguement so many people tried to use against mp3s or whatever digital version people liked when Napster came out in the 90s. I use my Kindle all the time and in all honesty it is more convienent to carry that around when I'm traveling than a stack of books. Reading is reading period, regardless of how it's accessed.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. January 31, 2012 - 11:58am

More importantly than Franzen, Amazon's kindle deal of the day is The Best American Noir of the Century for $1.99.

Zackery Olson's picture
Zackery Olson from Rockford, IL is reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on March 21, 2012 - 2:08pm

I have to say that he's being a bit of an idiot. Ebooks make it much easier for people with print disabilities (blindness, visual impairment, dislexia, etc.) to acces his "art". In doing so, the market for his work is also expanded, maybe not a whole hell of a lot, but it certainly could mean more people buying his books. More people buying his books would mean him making more money. He's shooting himself in the foot here. Maybe--as a person with a visual disability myself--I'm biased here, but I happen to think it's a valid point.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 21, 2012 - 2:31pm

I think you could have stopped at idiot.