A growing number of schools are embracing books in electronic format, but many classic titles that have become staples of the English curriculum still aren't available as eBooks.

Getting permission to release a book in electronic form can be as hard--or harder--than writing it: It took six years get J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy released in eBook format, more than half as long as Tolkien himself took to write all three books.

"The Tolkien estate wanted to be absolutely confident that eBooks were not something ephemeral," says David Brawn, publishing operations director at HarperCollins U.K., which announced last week that


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