NEW YORK — Alice Walker's The Color Purple, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1983 and still widely taught and talked about, is finally coming out as an e-book. But not through a traditional publisher.

Open Road Integrated Media, the digital company co-founded two years ago by former HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, has reached an agreement with Walker to release the electronic version of The Color Purple and most of her other work.

New editions of The Color Purple and the novels The Temple of My Familiar and Possessing the Secret of Joy have been released. On Nov. 22, eight more will be published. The e-books will include author interviews, photographs and personal documents.

Walker is best known for The Color Purple, set in rural Georgia in the 1930s. It was adapted into a 1985 Steven Spielberg film of the same name and more recently into a Broadway musical.

As the digital market rapidly grows, agents and publishers have disagreed over older books, with agents saying that the contracts did not cover e-books because the format didn't yet exist, and publishers saying such rights were implicit.


Photo: Alice Walker