Aug 26, 2010

E-books–Bradbury not a Fan

The Martian Chronicles
It's nearly the end of Ray Bradbury week.  The aging writer turned 90 on August 22.  So three cheers for Bradbury, he's given us a long list of stellar works - with some modern classics like Fahrenheit 451.

Indeed he shows little sign of slowing down - he's on the verge of releasing another anthology of short stories.

"E-books smell like burned fuel"

Bradbury is no fan of E-books it seems.  Indeed when he's been approached in the past by digital publishing giants he's been rather direct:
"I was approached three times during the last year by Internet companies wanting to put my books" on an electronic reading device, he said. "I said to Yahoo, 'Prick up your ears and go to hell. " [source]

Ray Bradbury is also on the record as saying:
"There is no future for e-books, because they are not books," Bradbury said. "E-books smell like burned fuel" [Source]
So if you were hoping to read Something Wicked this Way Comes or Dandelion Wine on your Kindle, you might be waiting a while.  It's not just e-books though.  Bradbury has a fondness, a love for the book and for libraries, and a dislike for modern gadgets and distractions.  While Fahrenheit 451 appears to be a criticism of  censorship or book burning, Bradbury himself considered it to be a criticism of  the way in which television destroyed interest in Literature.

What I did find curious though was that his neo-Ludditism did not extend to movies or audiobooks based on his works.  Was this simply because these technologies were around ( by which I mean cinema and audio recording) in his youth? Or is it because there is no threat from them to the traditional book?

There are worse crimes than burning books
And according to Bradbury one of those is not reading books in the first place.  Which in some respects I find a little contradictory - when he is preventing his work from being read on the Kindle or the Nook.
The difference between reading Bradbury on an E-ink Screen compared to on paper is a small one.  Sure, I like the smell of books, I love bookstores and libraries, but when I sit to read something the outside world dissolves it matters little to me whether I access the book in printed format or in digital format - I am immersed regardless.

Your thoughts?


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