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"Fahrenheit 451" is now an e-book

Ray Bradbury poses with his new book at a Golden Globe luncheon Jan 9, 2009, in Los Angeles. Getty

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - There's a new milestone being crossed today by an old-time classic.

Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" is being released as an e-book by Simon & Schuster.

The 91-year old science fiction/fantasy author has finally allowed a digital version of his dystopian classic, which imagines a world in which the appetite for new and faster media leads to a decline in reading, and books are banned and burned. First published in 1953, "Fahrenheit 451" has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into 33 languages.

Though his literary imaginings were cutting-edge, Bradbury has been more of a Luddite when it comes to e-publishing. A frequent speaker at science-fiction conventions, he has reportedly said he thinks the Internet has hindered communication and reduced people's ability to converse with one another.

In a statement released Tuesday, Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp said the new e-book was "a rare and wonderful opportunity to continue our relationship with this beloved and canonical author and to bring his works to new a generation of readers and in new formats."

Simon & Schuster also announced that a new paperback edition of "Fahrenheit 451" would go on sale in January. New paperbacks of two other Bradbury favorites, "The Martian Chronicles" and "Illustrated Man" will be available in March.

As the electronic market has grown to at least 20 percent of overall sales, a wave of former e-holdouts have changed their minds, notably "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS Corp.

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