‘Fahrenheit 451’ finally out as an e-book

NEW YORK (AP) — At age 91, Ray Bradbury is making peace with the future he helped predict.

The science fiction/fantasy author and longtime enemy of the e-book has finally allowed his dystopian classic “Fahrenheit 451” to be published in digital format. Simon & Schuster released the electronic edition Tuesday.

First published in 1953, “Fahrenheit 451” has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into 33 languages. It imagined a world in which the appetite for new and faster media leads to a decline in reading, and books are banned and burned. Bradbury himself has been an emphatic defender of traditional paper texts, saying e-books “smell like burned fuel” and calling the Internet nothing but “a big distraction.”

“It’s meaningless; it’s not real,” he told The New York Times in 2009. “It’s in the air somewhere.”

In a statement released Tuesday, Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp said the new e-book was “a rare and wonderful opportunity to continue our relationship with this beloved and canonical author and to bring his works to new a generation of readers and in new formats.”

Simon & Schuster also announced a new paperback edition of “Fahrenheit 451” would go on sale in January. New paperbacks of two other Bradbury favorites, “The Martian Chronicles” and “Illustrated Man” will be available in March.

As the electronic market has grown to at least 20 percent of overall sales, a wave of former e-holdouts have changed their minds, notably “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.

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