Harper Lee celebrated her 88th birthday by announcing (through her publisher, HarperCollins) that she has agreed to allow her only novel, 1960’s Pulitzer-winning To Kill A Mockingbird, to be released in official e-book and digital audiobook form. Lee joins the ranks of several other technology-averse authors who’ve recently relented and allowed their much-beloved works to have an electronic form (both J.K. Rowling and Ray Bradbury made similar moves in 2012). The reclusive author has been in the news quite a bit in the last year as the lawsuit she filed alleging her literary agent stole the book’s copyright from her was resolved last fall, and her complaint against her local Monroeville, Alabama historical museum was settled earlier this year.
In her statement, Lee admits she’s “old-fashioned” and still prefers “dusty old books and libraries,” but that it’s time To Kill A Mockingbird was available for a new generation. The e-book version will be available July 8, so these screen-loving youngsters can learn “simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win” just in time for a new school year. Besides, people don’t make nearly enough Boo Radley jokes these days.
With the addition of To Kill A Mockingbird to the digital library of American classics, that just leaves J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye as the last remaining ultimate “get” for some enterprising digital publisher.