Jonathan Franzen: 'E-Books Are Damaging'
Acclaimed American novelist Jonathan Franzen has waded into the e-books vs paperback debate, and came out punching in favour of print.
Describing new technology like Amazon’s Kindle as a ‘con’, the author of Freedom told the Telegraph: “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 ten years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model.”
Speaking at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia, Franzen predicted that in the future, readers will crave the ‘permanence’ of a physical book should they no longer exist.
“Maybe nobody will care about printed books fifty years from now, but I do,” he said.
“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.”
Franzen added that he felt e-books were ‘damaging’ society.
Despite shooting to literary fame in 2001 with The Corrections, the press conference in Cartagena was the first of Franzen’s career and the author has a history of misfortune when it comes to publicising his novels.
The year The Corrections was released he pulled out of a planned appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show because he felt it would alienate his male readers - though he appeared on the show 9 years later to promote Freedom.
Later in 2010, he was the victim of theft while at a London book launch – a student called James Fletcher grabbed Franzen’s glasses and left behind a ransom note for £100,000.