“Mockingbird”: No More Cheap Editions

On Monday, February 29, a judge in Monroe County, Alabama sealed Harper Lee’s will from public view. The motion was filed by the Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, which was acting on behalf of Tonja Carter, Lee’s lawyer and the executor of her estate. We may never know what Lee’s will stipulates, but the estate’s first action in the wake of Lee’s death is both bold and somewhat baffling: The New Republic has obtained an email from Hachette Book Group, sent on Friday, March 4 to booksellers across the country, revealing that Lee’s estate will no longer allow publication of the mass-market paperback edition of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I suspect that at this point any 6-year-old could find a copy online for free. Still, the decision smacks of the profit motive that has been driving decisions ever since Ms. Carter took over.

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