Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
So, you’ve probably heard by now that Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is finally available in ebook form. Upon Simon & Schuster’s insistence that a new contract would not be possible without ebook rights as well, Bradbury, a well-known skeptic of all things digital, finally conceded. This is big news, especially considering his comments in a New York Times article back in 2009.
Particularly this one:
“Yahoo called me eight weeks ago,” he said, voice rising. “They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? ‘To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet.’”
But it got me thinking. What other authors have mixed (or negative) feelings about ebooks?
The first author who came to mind was Audrey Niffenegger. Originally published under MacAdam/Cage, The Time Traveler’s Wife is not (yet) available as an ebook.
On her website, she states:
I am not opposed to the existence of e-books; I know lots of people are wildly enthusiastic about them. But I have spent my life working with books as an art form and I am devoted to physical books. E-books in their current incarnations are still imperfect and they threaten the arts of book design and typography.
A bit later in her response, she also states:
“I don’t know when or if my books will become e-books. Writing me hostile e-mail about this will not hasten my desire.”
It should be noted that her second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, was published in 2009 by Scribner (USA), and yes, it is available as an ebook.
Graham Swift, 1996 Booker Prize Winner for Last Orders, is another author who has vocalized his concern over ebooks, mainly because he believes the payment structure will be even worse for authors:
“Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I think in the e-book world there is a real danger they will take even less, unless they are vigilant and robust about protecting their own interests.” (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)
Niffenegger and Swift have very different reasons for their opposition, but collectively, I think they raise some of the key issues we’re dealing with today.
Do you know of any authors who have expressed concerns about ebooks? Do you agree with their complaints?