"It's a rare and wonderful opportunity to continue our relationship with this beloved and canonical author and to bring his work s to new a generation of readers and in new formats" said publisher Jonathan Karp in the announcement. "We are honored to be the champion of these classic works." In a telephone interview, Congdon explained that there was an "opportunity to make a new license" for the rights to FAHRENHEIT 451 (Ballantine published the original hardcover edition, while S&S had published the paperback from 1962 onwards) and there was "no way to make new license with anyone that didn't include ebook rights."
The agency then approached Bradbury and explained that any new deal involving the rights to FAHRENHEIT 451 could not go forward without digital rights as part of the package, and "he was willing to go ahead and sign the contract," Congdon said.
While Congdon wouldn't comment on specifics, he says the deal was for "a very significant sum of money." S&S was one of six interested parties who had the chance to bid on the new rights package, "all of whom had, one way or another, some relationship with Ray. If there was a way to grant rights to all six publishers, we would have. But you can't. There's a great deal of admiration for Ray in the publishing industry, which made our job a lot easier."
Congdon said there may be ebook editions of THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, but they are under an existing license with HarperCollins, which has so far "honored Ray's decision not to have ebook editions." With FAHRENHEIT's ebook publication, Congdon acknowledged "a door has obviously been opened" for HarperCollins.
Copyright 2011 AmSAW