For years, the estate of JD Salinger has refused to allow the late author’s works to be digitized and published on ebooks. However, those of you who enjoy reading on your phones or tablets will be pleased to learn the iconic author’s works will finally be available on digital platforms very soon.
Salinger was a big supporter of physical books and wasn’t the kind of author who appreciated deviations from paper and ink. For instance, his son Matt recalls how resistant his father was to the internet and once told the New York Times that he once tried to explain Facebook to his father, who was horrified at the idea of people sharing their personal lives online.
As The Guardian reports, for years Matt Salinger respected his father’s wishes, and prevented his work from being digitized, however his stance on the matter changed when he received a letter from a Michigan woman in 2014 who explained she had a “permanent right-hand disability”, which made reading physical books difficult for her.
“She took me personally to task in a very sharp but humorous way, and from the moment I read her letter I was committed to figuring out a way to let her read my father’s books, as she so wanted,” Matt explained.
He continued “My father always did what he could to keep his books affordable and accessible to as many readers as possible, especially students, and he consistently refused to give up the cheaper paperback editions for more profitable trade paperbacks, even when Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Faulkner had done so, and when Little, Brown was urging him to.
“Making his books accessible to a new generation, many of whom seem to prefer reading on their electronic devices, and – specifically – people with health conditions or impairments that mean they’re unable to read physical books, is a very exciting development, and totally in keeping with his wishes even if he greatly preferred the full tactile experience of a physical book. Would he prefer and encourage readers to stick with the printed books? Absolutely. But not exclusively if it means some not being able to read him at all.”
Unfortunately, those of you hoping for an audiobook version of The Catcher in the Rye are still out of luck. Salinger spurned any attempts made to translate his books in to other mediums, including movies and stage productions. This week sees several of Salinger’s most notable works released on ebooks, The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, For Esmé – With Love and Squalor and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour – An Introduction. Fans of Salinger’s will also be pleased to learn that decades of unpublished writings will be released over the next decade.