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Polemic  Franzen: E-books Bad for Society Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Franzen: E-books Bad for Society

First it was the iPhone, now it's the e-book. Jonathan Franzen, the author of Freedom and The Corrections, launched a passionate defense of the printed book—and an attack on e-books—at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia. “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,” said Franzen. “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.” Wondering whether nonelectronic print will be around in 50 years, he said he fears 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.”

January 30, 2012 7:10 AM