Critical Linking: April 18th, 2013

 

This debate surrounding the transition from physical books to electronic ones is less about outreach and more about quality. I realize that bibliophiles and print purists run the risk of sounding like high-brow elitists, while the opposing camp argues that easier access to literature will embolden creative communities.

Actually, they don’t end up sounding like high-brow elitists. They end up sounding silly.

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People who care about books, about reading, about literature and its future, need to change. They are historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita (no, I can’t back up those claims with actual numbers, only with like-minded sentiments and personal experience). This has to change.

Connecting the “romance of print” sentiment of many readers (and publishers) to Amazon’s unchecked ascendence is so freaking insightful that I am angry I couldn’t articulate it like this.

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Adam Johnson’s “The Orphan Master’s Son” was in the top 10 on Amazon.com as of midday Tuesday, a day after the novel received the Pulitzer. The paperback edition was out of stock for one to three weeks, although the book remains available in electronic format.

The one American literary prize that can really move copies.

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