Mike Masnick at Techdirt has more details and commentary on why Ray Bradbury’s novels are are becoming available as e-books. Bradbury is noted for his dislike of new technologies, such as video games and the Internet, and indeed has said that Fahrenheit 451 is not actually about censorship but about new technologies such as television that distract people from reading books.
But at this point, Bradbury didn’t have much choice—his contracts were coming due, and with e-books at 20% of the market and growing, publishers now require e-book rights as part of new contracts. In other words, if he didn’t allow e-books, Bradbury could have ended up without a publisher willing to take him on. So Bradbury’s agents explained the situation to him, and he gave his approval.
Though, as Masnick points out, the price of the new electronic versions leaves something to be desired.
Of course, if Bradbury is worried that people are going to leave behind his precious paper […], perhaps his publishers are saving him… by pricing the ebook at a ridiculous $9.99. This is for a book that you can buy in a paper copy used for a penny and new for $2.84. And the publisher thinks $9.99 for a version that doesn’t require materials, packaging or shipping should be many times the cost?
I wonder if any other e-book holdout authors will soon discover they don’t have any choice in the matter either?