In what is quite possibly going to prove to be one of the most famous examples of ebook piracy, an apparent leak of three of JD Salinger’s unpublished short stories seems to have happened thanks to a buyer on eBay. The manuscripts for the stories, “Birthday Boy,” “Paula,” and what appears to be somewhat of a continuation of the lives of the characters found in Salinger’s best known work Catcher in the Rye with the story “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” have been stored under lock and key in two separate library collections until now. An illegally printed and crudely bound version was listed for sale in this eBay auction, and subsequently bought by someone who scanned and uploaded the files.
Now, news of the leaked stories has Salinger scholars flustered as to how these stories got out. A number of people who had been granted access to the unpublished works over the years have looked at the leaked digital version and stated that it does not look like the authorized unpublished copies that they originally read years ago. According to one expert, the version he read, which was stored at Princeton, looked more like a type-written version to submit to a publisher, as opposed to the more polished version that was leaked.
The title page of the leaked version states that it is an unpublished version of the works, as well as that it is number six of twenty-five.
Despite being first mentioned by the uploader on reddit only yesterday, the issue already has many up in arms about copyright infringement versus the right of the public to have access to written works.