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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