Dave Eggers Defends 'Paper and Cloth and Glue and Ink'

Bloggers give three cheers--in pixels and links

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Last Friday, author Dave Eggers won two prizes at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: the Current Interest Award for his nonfiction book Zeitoun, and the Innovator's Award for his work in publishing and nonprofit education. In his acceptance speech, Eggers took a stand for books and print media, seeming to speak on behalf of everyone at McSweeney's, the publishing house he founded some years ago. "We're still about paper and cloth and glue and ink, and if you put care into that craft, it has the same appeal it always did," Eggers said. "We shouldn't assume, always, that we're hurtling inexorably toward some all-electronic world." It's not the first time this month Eggers has gone out of his way to champion print, and his attitude has occasioned both nods and smirks:

  • Heck Yeah, New York Magazine's Adam Raymond all but says in a brief blog post about Friday's festival. "If it existed, [Eggers] also would have won the motivational-speaking award for his acceptance speech."
  • Contrarian and Inspiring, is the verdict of Megan Kimble at the Los Angeles Times. "At a time when most major publishers are enveloped in doom and gloom, Eggers’ faith in the power of the printed word sets him apart," she wrote a few days after the award ceremony. "His irreverent, whimsical approach to publishing, writing and teaching doesn’t diminish its powerful result."
  • Oh, Please  Gawker's Hamilton Nolan rolls his eyes at Eggers's infatuation with traditional media. "Dave Eggers wants to marry print and live in Never-Neverland with it," Nolan wrote last week in response to an April 16 NPR interview where Eggers praised "the curatorial, the calmness, the authority of a daily paper." Nolan's take: "Dave Eggers you are brilliant but not when it comes to the economics of media, at all."
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