To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the best-loved stories of all time, on Tuesday went digital with author Harper Lee saying this is for a new generation as she still loves "dusty old books".
Fifty-four years after it was first published, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was released as an e-book for the first time, publishers Random House announced. The novel has been translated into more than 40 languages, and has recorded sales well over one million copies each year worldwide.
"Now, for the first time, To Kill a Mockingbird will be available as a straight text e-book, an enhanced e-book with extra exclusive content, and a digital audio, narrated by Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek," a statement from Random House said. "I am amazed and humbled that Mockingbird has survived this long. I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. This is Mockingbird for a new generation," said Lee. The e-book will be available with all e-book retailers including Flipkart, Amazon, Google Play and Kobo.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition. It is the story of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird," is the lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird.
Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. The novel has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honours by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.