Ray Bradbury relents, allows Fahrenheit 451 to be released digitally

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Dec 15, 2012, 11:18 AM EST

The 91-year-old science fiction Grand Master Ray Bradbury has notoriously refused to allow his groundbreaking novel—about a reductive futuristic society that eradicates free thought as easily as it burns books—to be published on anything besides paper. But despite his loathing of the Internet, Bradbury has buckled to popular demand.

The man who called the Internet a "big distraction" and claimed that e-books "smelled like burnt fuel" has found himself having to embrace that which he formerly loathed: The publishing rights to his 1953 classic, which has been released by Simon & Schuster since the 1960s, are coming up for sale, and any new deal would have to have an e-book component.

Faced with the inevitable—and the fact that digital sales account for up to 20 percent of a title's revenue—Bradbury went with the devil he knew, and Fahrenheit 451 hit digital bookshelves from Simon & Schuster today, with a new paperback to follow in January.

The irony of a book whose title derives from the temperature at which paper burns being released without paper is lost on no one.

(via Washington Post)