From Publishers Weekly:
Little, Brown, in conjunction with the estate of J.D. Salinger, announced plans to release e-book editions of Salinger’s four beloved works of fiction, marking the first time his books have been available in a digital format.
The release of the four books—The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour—An Introduction—in e-book editions (with new cover designs) marks a continuing year-long centennial celebration of Salinger’s acclaimed works of fiction.
. . . .
Reagan Arthur, senior v-p, publisher of Little, Brown. said “This centennial year is an occasion for revisiting J. D. Salinger’s books as well as for approaching them for the first time. So it’s the ideal moment to be publishing his works as e-books.
The release of the e-books will be accompanied by a special focus on libraries and will include a 1,000 e-book giveaway sweepstakes to public libraries in North America organized by OverDrive.
. . . .
Salinger, who died in 2010, rejected digital editions of his work while he was alive. Since his death, Matt Salinger, the author’s son and administrator of the Salinger estate, has continued to carry out his father’s wishes. However, Salinger said the time has come to make sure his father’s books are available to a new generation of readers.
Salinger said “There were few things my father loved more than the full tactile experience of reading a printed book, but he may have loved his readers more—and not just the ‘ideal private reader’ he wrote about, but all his readers. As it became clear to us that increasing numbers of readers today read only e-books, and after I was taken severely (if also humorously) to task by a reader with a disability in Ypsilanti, Michigan, who can’t read except on an electronic device, we decided it was time.”
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly
PG is 99% certain that the publishing agreements J.D. Salinger signed would not have included ebooks and likely had a reservation of rights clause that provided that all rights not granted to the publisher were reserved to the author.
The publisher paid Salinger’s heirs a tidy sum and they signed either an updated publishing contract or an amendment to the original contracts to permit the publication of ebooks.