Roberto Bolano’s ‘2666' released as e-book for the first time

Roberto Bolano's novel "2666" debuted as an e-book Tuesday.
(FSG/New Directions)

Roberto Bolano did not live to see his book “2666" become an American bestseller. Nor did he make it to the popularization of e-books -- he died 10 years ago, on May 15, 2003.

On Tuesday, “2666" saw its debut as an e-book. The electronic format is a welcome one -- in print, it’s a hefty 898 pages. When the book was published in 2008, Ben Ehrenreich reviewed the “giant” book for The Times, finding it “strange and marvelous and impossibly funny, bursting with melancholy and horror.”

For many years, Bolano’s work was published in America by New Directions. Twelve of those books -- novels, poetry, nonfiction and short stories -- are available in e-book, and have been for some time.

Alongside “2666,” Bolano’s novel “The Savage Detectives” was also made available as an e-book this week. Both books are published in the e-book format by Picador.


In 2010, fans were so eager to get their hands on an e-book version of “2666" that someone illicitly created a .txt file of it and posted it on the Internet. “It ain’t the easiest thing in the world to read, but if you fiddle a bit with the file, you’ll find a way,” coached a Mediabistro blog, before reconsidering and removing the link to the pirated e-book.

If interest in “2666" may have cooled down a little since then, Bolano himself is coming back on the scene. “The Unknown University,” another posthumous book of his work, hits shelves this Thursday. It’s an omnibus collection of his poetry, the pieces published side by side in English and Spanish. Look for our review coming up this weekend.


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