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Monday June 25, 2012

CAMDEN, Maine -- Readers can’t survive on e-books alone, says author Richard Russo.

The latest work from the Pulitzer-winning Russo, "Interventions," is a tribute to the printed book, while taking a backhanded jab at electronic books and online bookselling.

"Interventions" is a collection of four separate volumes that are packaged in a slipcase, each work coming with a postcard-sized color print of a painting by Russo’s daughter, Kate. The collection, three short stories and a novella, is published on high-quality sustainably harvested paper.

And in this age when e-book sales are booming, it’s not for sale in electronic version.

"Interventions" is a celebration of printed books and independent bookstores, Russo said in an interview in his home in this Maine coastal town. 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 said.

But he’s also confident that book readers are coming around to his way of thinking.

"It’s the idea of buying locally," Russo said. "I think 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, whether it’s flat-screen TVs or flowers or whatever. I think there’s a groundswell of people who are beginning to understand the implications of that.

"And that’s the only justification I have for saying print books are unlikely to disappear."