NEW YORK — Sherman Alexie is learning to live with e-books, conflicts and all.
Once one of the harshest opponents of books on a screen, Alexie has in the past two years allowed a handful of his works to be released digitally, including his prize-winning young adult novel “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian.” He is now making seven additional books available.
Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publisher, announced Monday that it had acquired rights to “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” ”Reservation Blues” and other early Alexie fiction. The new editions will come out Oct. 15.
The author has denounced Amazon.com’s Kindle as elitist and worries about the future of physical stores. But in a video released by Open Road, he said he wanted his books to be read as widely as possible.
“I’m famous, or infamous, for objecting to electronic literature and e-books,” he said. “At the beginning my hate was sort of global, but now it’s modified a bit. I still have serious issues with the politics and economic philosophies involved in much of the electronic book world but I’m also vitally interested in reaching more of my readers and reaching a younger generation of readers who are more technologically savvy and tech addicted, and in order to reach them I have to do this.”
Alexie, who turns 47 on Oct. 7, told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview that those younger readers included his two sons, ages 12 and 16. “In order to keep talking to them,” he said, it was important to keep up with technology. He is a fan of the iPad — “I love my iPad,” he declared in his video — and gave one to his mother to help her keep up with current events.
But he has not changed his mind about Amazon. He did not mention the Kindle in his video and told the AP that he still views the online retailer as a would-be monopoly that wants to be the “publisher, the editor, the distributor and the bookstore.”
“They are seeking to be the only thing in the business and I don’t like that,” said Alexie, who will, in any case, allow his e-books to be sold on Amazon.