‘Freedom’ writer spurns ebook trend


Jonathan Franzen is definitely not jumping on the ebook bandwagon.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph’s Anita Singh, the author of Freedom and The Corrections said he prefers a more permanent technology.

“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom,” he told Singh. “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.”

Speaking at the annual Hay Festival Cartagena in Colombia last month, Franzen argued that e-books will never have the magic of the printed page.

“Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 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.

“Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

Franzen’s Hay Festival press conference was the first in his career.