Harper Lee allows publication of To Kill a Mockingbird ebook

On the occasion of her 88th birthday, HarperCollins has announced that it will finally release an authorised digital edition of Harper (no relation) Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird on 8 July, 54 years after the book’s initial publication. A long-time holdout against the transition to digital, Lee acknowledged the changing times in a statement through her publisher (newsworthy in and of itself, so infrequently does she make public utterances), saying: ‘I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. I am amazed and humbled that ‘Mockingbird’ has survived this long. This is ‘Mockingbird’ for a new generation.’

Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins U.S. General Books Group and Canada added: ‘Every home has a dog-eared copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and now readers will be able to add this favorite book to their digital libraries. Although today is Nelle Harper Lee’s birthday, she is giving readers around the world the gift of being able to read or listen to this extraordinary story in all formats.’ Those formats will also include a downloadable port of the existing audiobook, as read by Sissy Spacek, and an enhanced ebook whose additional content is yet to be confirmed.

Lee regained copyright of her sole novel this past autumn, after claiming in May of last year that she had been tricked into signing the rights over to literary agent Samuel Pinkus in 2007. Pinkus allegedly took advantage of her failing eyesight, hearing loss and suffering of a stroke to have Lee sign a document that named him as the lone rights holder and entitled her to no further payment for her work. The suit settled in September, with Lee’s lawyer Gloria Phares saying at the time that matters had been resolved to Lee’s satisfaction and that her copyright had been secured to her.

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