Famous Authors Boycott E-books, Nameless Reader Boycotts Authors
Are e-readers turning book lovers into e-vil readers?
Ugh. I just punched myself in the face.
Authors Richard Russo and Stephen King have announced plans to make some of their new releases unavailable to online stores (like Amazon) or on e-readers.
Richard Russo (author of Empire Falls, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002) is releasing a new book Interventions, but he is not allowing his book to be purchased online or on e-readers. Stephen King is doing the same thing with his soon(?)-to-be-released Joyland.
This means that if you want to read Interventions or Joyland you may actually have to buy (or borrow) a real book at a bookstore or library and then turn real pages. Both authors say that they are going e-bookless with these releases because of their love for actual books.
Maybe an actual book with pages is morally (too strong a word) superior to an e-version, but part of me is annoyed that Russo and King (and maybe some publishing companies) would want to limit my choices in reading format. The e-reader has completely changed the way I read. I read more in bed, on the stationary bike, in grocery store lines, at traffic lights (I’m kidding!). I can plow through more books than I used to. I can read more book samples at my convenience without purchasing them (something authors, publishers, and stores might not like).
I like having the choice of book formats. When I’m sitting in an airport, I’d rather have my e-reader than a stack of books to keep me occupied. When I’m moving from house to house, grabbing a couple tablets is way easier than packing and unpacking (or paying somebody else to pack and unpack) a couple storage rooms full of books.
I love the e-reader. In fact, I love the e-reader more than I love any single author.
Russo also says he wants to help local bookstores, and that sounds noble, but I didn’t know there were any local bookstores anymore. I live in a major U.S. city, and our local booksellers are Barnes & Noble and… and… a few used bookstores. What I consider “local” bookstores are mostly gone. I think Russo is about five to ten years too late to save local bookstores. When Empire Falls won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, maybe he should have banned his books from Borders and Barnes &Noble. I’m guessing (with no proof) that those chains killed off more local bookstores than e-readers and Amazon have.
If Russo and Stephen King want to limit my choices, that’s fine. I can limit my choices too. If an author doesn’t want his book available electronically, that’s his/her right, but I probably won’t buy that book. To be fair, I never would have bought Russo’s new book anyway, and I haven’t bought a Stephen King book in over 20 years, so they lose nothing by alienating (too strong a word) me.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo (not quite a review)
Since I’ve made some comments about Richard Russo, I decided to read his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Empire Falls (I don’t need to read any more Stephen King books). The good news is that I am reading an actual book, not the e-version, so Richard Russo would be happy. The bad news is that I checked it out from the library, so Russo gets no money from me. The other bad news is that I’m traveling soon, and Empire Falls is kind of big (about 800 pages), so I’m leaving it at home while I take my e-readers (filled with books that I’ve paid for) with me, and none of them will have Empire Falls on them.
I’ll finish Empire Falls when I get back. It’s pretty good so far.