Fahrenheit 451 Goes Digital

Ray Bradbury, author of the classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, as well as The Martian Chronicles, and the Illustrated Man has succumbed to the age of technology. Bradbury has been a long time critic to digital technology, including ebooks, however, at 91 years of age, his hesitance to have Fahrenheit 451 published in ebook format has come to an end.

The novel published in 1953 is about a dystopian society where books are outlawed and the United States has banned owning or reading books. Firefighters are commissioned by the state to confiscate and burn any books in an individual’s possession, and they are subsequently guilty of committing a crime. The novel sold over 10million copies since the time of original publication.

The rights for the author’s book were about to expire. In order to commit to a new contract, ebook rights were inevitable, and therefore incorporated into the deal. In the United States, publishers Simon & Schuster are releasing the ebook at $9.95 on November 29, 2011.

Although the age of technology can be viewed by some to be a contributing factor to the disintegration of the newsprint industry, one must first determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. The potential ramifications of entering the digital age may have many cons, but the benefits may be well worth it. I must honestly admit that while I do enjoy the physicality of book reading as well as the emotional ties that can sometimes be made with a particular book, the generation of ereaders and the ebook format certainly does offer extreme potential. Despite Bradbury’s opposition to this format, he should take pleasure in the fact that the novel can reach a broader audience, and remember the significance of the words he once spoke “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them”.

Sources: CBC, The Guardian (UK)



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2 responses to “Fahrenheit 451 Goes Digital

  1. Excellent post! I read this book in high school and it made quite an impression on me. I think going digital was a good move for this book. As you quoted- the crime is getting people to stop reading book. On ebooks people just read them in a different format. I am still a print reader- but I can see the benefit of electronic books and digital readers.


  2. Whoops! I meant to say: The crime is getting people to stop reading books. 🙂

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