Entertainment & Arts

Novelist Richard Russo boycotts e-books

Richard Russo
Image caption Russo won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his novel Empire Falls

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo has refused to allow his new novel to be sold as an e-book.

The 62-year-old said Interventions, a collection of four volumes, is a "tribute to the printed book" and would not be made available online.

The author, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 with Empire Falls, said he wanted to encourage people to buy from local bookstores.

"Readers can't survive on e-books alone," he told the Associated Press.

"The rapid rise of e-books and online sales of printed books pose threats to bookstores, the book publishing industry and the rise of new authors," he continued.

Interventions is a collaboration between Russo, his artist daughter Kate who provided its illustrations, and her husband Tom Butler who designed the collection.

Each features three short stories and a novella packaged in a slip case, with a postcard-sized print of one of Kate Russo's paintings.

Russo has enlisted Down East Books - a company located near his home in Camden, Maine - to publish Interventions, saying he wanted to promote "the idea of buying locally".

Image caption Russo said he wanted his new work to give people a "book book experience"

"This particular book is part of that groundswell of people who are beginning to understand that buying all of your books through online booksellers is like buying everything from online sellers," he explained.

Russo, whose other novels include Bridge of Sighs and That Old Cape Magic, has spoken out against e-books and retail giant Amazon in the past.

In December last year he wrote a piece in the New York Times criticising Amazon's price-check app, which allows shoppers to scan a bar code in store and see how much they could save buying online.

Russo said he was "fine with online booksellers" in general but added: "I just don't want them to control the world."

Earlier this year erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey topped the New York Times' prestigious bestseller list on downloads alone.

EL James's book has now sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was followed by two best-selling sequels.

Despite being an early fan of online publishing, Stephen King's next horror story Joyland, out in June 2013, will only be released in book form.

King said he decided against an e-book because he "loved the paperbacks [he] grew up with as a kid".

Speaking to the BBC News website, Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said he was not sure Russo's decision was part of a larger trend.

"Most authors want to reach as many people as possible. Increasingly that does mean the electronic version," he said.

"We had 366% growth in consumer e-books in 2011," he added. "The demand is rising.

"For the majority of authors they want to access that market. But if there are authors that don't, then that's fine too."

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