Curious about exactly what an info dump is? Well, here's one from page 18 of the hardback edition of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown:
“The new entrance to the Paris Louvre had become almost as famous as the museum itself. The controversial neomodern glass pyramid designed by Chinese-born American architect I. M. Pei still evoked scorn from traditionalists who felt it destroyed the dignity of the Renaissance courtyard. Goethe had described architecture as frozen music, and Pei’s critics described this pyramid as fingernails on a chalkboard. Progressive admirers, though, hailed Pei’s seventy-one-foot-tall transparent pyramid as a dazzling synergy of ancient structure and modern method--a symbolic link between the old and new…”
Many writers, including myself, dislike info dumps. They smack of laziness, and most of the time the information works better when it's integrated into the storyline and doesn’t call attention to itself. However, many readers don’t seem to mind info dumps. In fact, some readers seem to enjoy the chance to learn tidbits they didn’t know before, even if it interrupts the flow of a story or is irrelevant to a story.
As a reader myself, if the information is interesting I hardly notice an info dump, but when they are boring I quickly start to squirm. I like learning stuff, but I'm not reading a novel primarily to be educated. (I read nonfiction for that.) I want to be entertained first and foremost. I didn’t feel that the passage from Brown was a good one. There’s a lot of information but I frankly didn’t find much of it interesting, and it really slowed the story's pace. Plus, it had nothing to do with the plot and never showed up again. Other than the fact that the main character will go through the entrance to the Louvre to get into the museum where things will happen, none of this information has anything to do with the story.
So how do you feel about "info dumps?" As a writer? As a reader?