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Friday, June 15, 2012

Famous Holdout Authors are Finally Agreeing to Digital Formatting

Some of the most famous and complex writers have resisted the ebook medium.

One of them, Thomas Pynchon [writer of V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and Mason & Dixon (1997)], has finally relented.

His motivation ? The same as most intelligent authors when they think it through --- readership and lots of it. Aside from all else, writers want their work read by as many people as possible.

Something to do with strengthening and ensuring their legacy, I'm sure.

Julie Bosman reports details, along with interesting insights into Mr. Pynchon, in the New York Times:

After Long Resistance, Pynchon Allows Novels to Be Sold as E-Books

Thomas Pynchon was one of the last great holdouts: the rare writer who had refused to allow his work to be sold in e-book format.

Now he’s changed his mind.

Mr. Pynchon, the author of “The Crying of Lot 49,” “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “V.,” has struck a deal with the Penguin Press to publish his entire backlist in digital form.

The announcement is another step toward the ubiquity of the e-book, even for authors who stubbornly resisted.

A few years ago, e-book sales were tiny when compared with print sales, but in the last six months, it has not been uncommon for a new novel to sell more e-book copies than print ones. Authors whose work is not for sale in that format risk missing a large and growing segment of the reading population.

Older titles have been especially tantalizing for publishers, who have turned them into e-books and made easy sales.

Mr. Pynchon has avoided the press for most of his life and, characteristically, declined to speak about his decision. But Ann Godoff, the president and editor in chief of the Penguin Press, said in an interview that Mr. Pynchon had agreed that it was time to get on board.

“It wasn’t exactly the elephant in the drawing room, but we just felt that the moment was right,” Ms. Godoff said. “There has been a great desire to have all of Tom’s books in digital format now, for many years. He didn’t want to not be part of that.”

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