Friday, March 23, 2012

Judy Blume eBooks: Don't Care.

Reading through this article on the New Yorker's book blog. I do agree with much of what she says, because yes, I did read my first Judy Blume book at my best friend's house, and we did giggle over it and share others (she also secretly ordered Goosebumps books from the scholastic catalogue and we giggled over those more), and yes, I did go straight to the library to read as many of her books as I could. Reading Deenie inspired me to write my own books, but you can imagine how good they were, being written by an eight-year-old girl whose only experience with sex, violence and family strife were from a single book written for eight-year-old girls. I don't think I even knew what a halter top was, and that book also made me think I had scoliosis until I was about 16.

The point I'm slowly getting around to making is that there's no reason Judy Blume's titles being released as eBooks should bother anybody. And this is the problem with the view on eBooks. They don't replace print books, and for many writers, publishers, and readers, it's never intended that they will. They're more convenient, sure, and they save some paper maybe, while some people find it strange to mix such an analog activity as reading with something so technologically advanced as a tablet, but aside from the huge booksellers and their requisite device sales, the existence of eBooks doesn't affect much of anything.

I'm just getting worked up about these two examples: readers lamenting the loss of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the objections over Kindle versions of childhood favourites. I ask how many people have been able to afford updating their set of encyclopedias, and in fact how many people still have a set at all. What's more, the print version is being discontinued so the publisher can concentrate on their interactive, constantly updated subscription service, which in all honestly sounds affordable, useful, and more aware of its audience. Maybe I'm biased because I spent more hours playing on my CD-Rom version of the Canadian Encyclopedia than I did reading through the 1968 American encyclopedia that was missing several volumes but hey, I can still name almost all of the Prime Ministers.

And Judy Blume books? Well, it seems to me that the market for the electronic versions are more geared towards parents. Many young girls, myself included, read them with their friends, and without their parents knowing. How many young girls today have an eReader? How many of them can buy and download books without their parents knowing? Why can't two girls share an eReader the way they could simultaneously read a single copy of Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself? How does this change the experience in the slightest?!

As I see it, electronic versions of some of Judy Blume's titles mean that I can now read the books I never read when I was young, and re-read the books I loved. None of this takes away from "that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes." One cannot force one's childhood on the children of tomorrow. That's just arrogant.


  1. In October I read this article

    I must admit I was anti-ebook/tablet and electronic literature altogether for quite sometime. I was also anti-cell phone for an even longer amount of time.

    I admit now that I was resistant because I was nostalgic for the time before these type of advices existed almost like those who grew up with radio and opposed television.

    You're absolutely right. We can't force yesterday's childhood on the children of tomorrow. It's just plain ol' backwards.

    1. Which is not to say that the past isn't wonderful or that we should forget all about it, but everyone must make their own, I guess. The future could be just as nice, after all :)

      Also, I may have retract that "what young girl has her own ereader" comment, since I saw a three-year-old running around work with an iPad. Nothing against the intentions of three-year-olds, but they fall.