Pair contemporary fiction with classics you might have missed in our Read This, Then That series.
2.) Lady Gaga, who marshals the thunderheads (Zeus)
3.) Lovely-haired Justin Bieber (Ariadne)
4.) Johnny Depp, the famous craftsman (Hephaestus)
5.) Sweetly-spoken Will Smith (Nestor)
While poking around Bookish.com when it launched, I noticed something strange on the page for To Kill a Mockingbird—the ebook price is $90. I bounced over to Amazon to see if this was some sort of mistake, only to find that it isn’t for sale there at all digitally.
I have heard the occasional story of a backlist title that for some reason related to rights (publisher’s, author’s, etc) wasn’t yet available digitally, but I was surprised that such a beloved and widely-read novel was still print-only (heck, Book Riot readers named it their favorite novel of all time).
So, I was curious to see what other well-known titles were also print-only and found that a fair number of books we’ve all heard of still aren’t available as ebooks.
Of Book Riot Readers’ Favorite 50 novels, 13% of the non-public domain novels are still print-only (5 of 38), including To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Time Traveler’s Wife, andRebecca.
I then started checking other collected lists and prizewinners and found that pretty consistently between 10-15% of any given list of novels still under copyright are only available in print. And in most cases, if one of an author’s work was still print-only, the majority of their work was as well.
Here are some notable titles:
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
- Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
- The USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos
- The Bridge on the San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
- Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
- The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
- Ironweed by William Kennedy
- Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
- Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
- Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
- The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
So while it feels like ebooks are now officially a part of the main of reading culture, there is still a significant number of books that have yet to make the transition. I wonder if one reason the growth of ebook sales has slowed is that the number of backlist titles being made available digitally has slowed.
Know of other classics that remain print-only? Tell us.
Mix contemporary fiction with classics in our Read This, Then That series. Up today, Junot Diaz & Nikolai Gogol
As a young writer, Alcott concentrated on lurid pulp stories of revenge, murder, and adultery–“blood and thunder” literature, as she called i–and enjoyed writing very much. She was in her mid 30s when an editor suggested she try writing a book for girls. Alcott wasn’t very interested, but her father was a complete moron with money and had left the family in terrible financial trouble. Alcott wrote Little Women in hopes of some decent sales and a little breathing room and got way more than she asked for. The money in sequels was too good to turn down (and her father didn’t get any smarter with a dime), but Alcott hated writing what she called “moral pap for the young” and longed to return to the smut and violence of her early endeavors.
Growing Up With the Classics. Start ‘em young, start ‘em with fun versions.
Pair a contemporary novel with a lesser-known classic in Read This, Then That