Sherman Alexie has again made his feelings about e-books known, now on The Colbert Report. (Link to Huffington Post) Alexie has made an appearance on this blog before, for the same reason: He hates the Kindle and other devices like it.
I like Alexie. I appreciate his humor in this interview, in the face of the idiocy of Colbert. (The act is getting tired.) I admire his commitment to his community, to books, to independent presses (he's published by Grove/Atlantic and publishes his poetry with Brooklyn independent Hanging Loose Press). He says a lot of useful things here. Someone like Alexie should use his pulpit to bring up concerns about electronic devices. But...
A few years ago, Christopher and I went to see Camille Paglia speak in Harvard Square. (Yes, Christopher and I do see each other in person occasionally, rather than only "seeing" one another here on SotB.) We both agreed that she was very entertaining, but once you give her comments a bit of thought, many didn't hold water. But the provocation was useful to push our thinking on issues. In the same way, I think Alexie's comments here are useful to start discussions. I don't agree that making books digital means the downfall of book culture. Many other factors have gone into the death of media around books. But good for him for talking about this death and airing his concerns, in a venue wherein he can reach many people who are not reading this or any other publishing blog.
And I was impressed to hear people applaud when he first mentioned his aversion to the Kindle.
Lastly, as an editor who just recently told two different authors that they each needed snappier conclusions to their book synopses, I must salute Alexie for a fantastic finish. Watch the whole 6 minutes to hear him nail it.
When you're done watching that and perhaps feeling a bit agitated, take a watch of this gorgeous video that Christopher emailed to me, which he wanted to post before flying the coop for Germany. It's called Going West, it was put together by Colenso BBDO in Auckland and animated by Anderson M Studio for the New Zealand Book Council, and it's really quite charming.