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J.D. Salinger's Books To Be Available As E-Books

Aug 14, 2019
Originally published on August 14, 2019 8:55 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There's "The Catcher In The Rye," "Franny And Zooey," "Nine Stories." Chances are you've only read J.D. Salinger's work in one form, as text on paper. Even after the author died nine years ago, the caretakers of his estate would not budge.

MATT SALINGER: My father never allowed digital books or audio books. He believed completely in the direct writer-to-reader relationship. He thought it was almost sacred.

GREENE: And so none of Salinger's work was digitized, until this week.

SALINGER: Little, Brown is releasing all of his published work in the e-book format.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That's the voice of Matt Salinger. He's the late writer's son, and he helps manage the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust. What changed his mind was this letter.

SALINGER: (Reading) Dear Mr. Salinger, I'm a 54-year-old woman who suffered a permanent right hand disability a few years ago due to a self-serving surgeon.

GREENE: This woman wrote that she dearly wanted to read J.D. Salinger's books, but she couldn't hold a novel and turn the pages because of her disability.

SALINGER: Who could read that letter and not be moved?

MARTIN: J.D. Salinger clearly detested digital media. But making his works accessible to people, that mattered to him.

SALINGER: He was always aware of keeping his books accessible. I don't think he really thought through the issue of handicapped people reading.

GREENE: So to ensure the works become even more accessible, Salinger's estate is donating 1,000 e-books to libraries. Matt Salinger is now also busy digitizing decades of his father's unpublished writing, a project that he expects could take years. But we're all glad that he's doing it. He also wants to find the author of that letter to say thanks, and also give her a coupon for a free e-book. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.