Ray Bradbury penned a high school reading list classic in 1953 depicting a world where books did exist -- they were burned. Although books in 2011 still obviously exist, the world of publishing is changing with e-readers and other technology and a future where hard copy books are not readily available isn't as unimaginable any more.
So, hard copy books disappearing thanks to digital publishing isn't as dramatic as book burning, but it's still in line with the future Bradbury predicts in "Fahrenheit 451". And now, at age 91, Bradbury is condoning it -- sort of -- by allowing "Fahrenheit 451" to be read on digital mediums.
Until now, the Associated Press reported, Bradbury has described e-books as "smell[ing] like burned fuel." And in 2009, told the New York Times, "It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere."
According to AP, Bradbury's agent, Michael Congdon, the rights for Bradbury's book were expiring and that the growing digital market, estimated at 20 percent or higher of overall sales, made a deal for e-books inevitable.
"We explained the situation to him (Bradbury) that a new contract wouldn't be possible without e-book rights," said Congdon, who added that six publishers had been interested. "He understood and gave us the right to go ahead."
The digital version of the classic will be published by Simon & Schuster, as well as a new paperback.
It would be interesting to hear from Bradbury -- AP contacted him with no immediate response -- on his books reaching this point.
What's the lesser of two evils? Sticking to your guns and then end of a rights contract or continuing to give generations the opportunity to read about the about a bookless world while they turn the page by pushing a button?