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Schools will find it harder to buy cheap paperback versions of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird after her estate stopped the publication of the mass-market edition of the novel.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the author, who died last month, will only allow the more expensive trade version of the book to be published, meaning schools will have to pay considerably more to buy the book.
A judge in Monroe County, Alabama, sealed Ms Lee’s will from public view, but according to the newrepublic.com, the estate has prohibited the publication of the mass-market edition of the book.
Hachette Book Group’s mass-market edition retailed for $8.99, but the trade paperbacks published by HarperCollins cost between $14.99 and $16.99, the website claims.
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most widely taught books in US schools, meaning the decision to drop the publication of the cheaper mass-market edition will hit schools hardest.
Hachette stated as much in an email seen by newrepublic.com: “The disappearance of the iconic mass-market edition is very disappointing to us, especially as we understand this could force a difficult situation for schools and teachers with tight budgets who cannot afford the larger, higher priced paperback edition that will remain in the market.”
A survey back in 1988 revealed that To Kill A Mockingbird was taught in 74 per cent of US schools. Only Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Huckleberry Finn were more widely taught.