Monday, April 28, 2014 |
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, her classic novel about courage and morality in the racially divided American deep south, will finally be available as an e-book in July.
Lee has agreed to permit downloadable editions of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, which fills a major gap in e-libraries. The new e-book, and a digital version of the audiobook narrated by Sissy Spacek, will be available starting July 8.
"I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries," Lee said in a rare public statement through her publisher HarperCollins on Monday (her 88th birthday). "I am amazed and humbled that Mockingbird has survived this long. This is Mockingbird for a new generation."
Many prominent authors have had mixed feelings about releasing digital versions of their books. Last year, Stephen King initially nixed an e-book version of Joyland because he preferred people to "go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one." King changed his mind however, and his fans were able to download the book starting in April. For several years, Thomas Pynchon resisted releasing e-book versions of his classics, including Gravity's Rainbow and V., but struck a deal in 2012 to digitally publish his entire back catalogue. Other authors that have changed their tune on e-books in the past few years include J.K. Rowling and Ray Bradbury.
Lee and her novel had ranked up there with J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In the Rye as a missing prize for e-book fans, the Associated Press reports.
Other major works still unavailable digitally include The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.Lee's announcement came nearly a year after the author sued her for former literary agent to regain the rights to her one and only published novel. The lawsuit was settled in September, with the copyright of the book back securely back in her possession.
First published in July 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and continues to sell more than one million copies each year, according to her publisher. It remains a staple in classrooms around the world and an extensively studied piece of American literature.
-With files from the Associated Press
To mark the author's birthday, we've highlighted eight inspiring quotes from her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.