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Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ will finally be an e-book

Harper Lee in 2005
Harper Lee with actress Annette Benning at a dinner held at the Central Library honoring the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
(Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

Harper Lee calls herself old-fashioned. She says she likes dusty books and libraries. But even she has joined the e-book age and agreed to allow her classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” to be published as an e-book.

HarperCollins will release the e-book edition of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on July 8. That’s 54 years to the day after the novel’s original publication.

It was Lee’s first book, and the only one she has ever published. Lee, who lives out of the public eye in her home state of Alabama, turned 88 on Monday.

Told through the eyes of young tomboy Scout, “To Kill a Mockingbird” dealt with racial injustice in the American South. It won the Pulitzer Prize, was adapted as an Oscar-winning film, and has become a beloved classic. The book has sold more than 30 million copies in 18 languages. The book sells about 750,000 copies a year in the U.S. and Canada.

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The delay in releasing an e-book may be tied to litigation surrounding “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In September 2013, Lee settled a lawsuit she had filed against her former literary agent that alleged he had “duped” her into assigning him royalties from the book, which he had been collecting in 2007. Lee is said to be of failing sight and hearing, and to reside in an assisted living facility.

In a statement, Lee said the e-book will be “ ‘Mockingbird’ for a new generation.” 

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