Sourcebooks has announced its acquisition of exclusive American trade paperback and e-book rights to all of L.M. Montgomery’s copyright protected works in the U.S. The only publisher to be granted e-book rights from the author’s estate, the house will launch its program in February 2014 with the release of paperback and e-book editions of the six novels in the Anne of Green Gables series (only the first four of which are in the public domain). The Sourcebooks Fire books will feature uniform, newly designed covers and will contain an introduction by Kate Macdonald Butler, Montgomery’s granddaughter. Originally launched in 1908 by L.C. Page & Company in Boston and currently available in Bantam mass-market paperback editions, the series has sold more than 50 million copies in more than 20 languages.

The publisher has also acquired rights to other Montgomery titles, some of which have been long out of print in the U.S. Due out next spring are The Blue Castle, Pat of Silver Bush, Mistress Pat, Magic for Marigold, Jane of Lantern Hill, A Tangled Web, and the three novels in the Emily of New Moon series.

Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks Fire editorial manager, negotiated the deal with Montgomery’s heirs, Kate Macdonald Butler and David Macdonald, through Toronto-based agent Sally Keefe-Cohen, who represents the literary aspects of Montgomery’s estate. A fan of the author since childhood, Hultenschmidt tracked down Montgomery’s descendants through the agent when she discovered that The Blue Castle was out of print in the U.S. “I didn’t know how that could be possible, since this novel, one of Montgomery’s few adult books, is one of the classic romances of all time,” Hultenschmidt said. “I expressed my interest in the book to her heirs, telling them how much I loved that novel and all of Montgomery’s work.”

Butler, who explains in her introduction that Anne of Green Gables was rejected by multiple editors when her grandmother first tried to find a publisher, is happy that her novels have found a new home – and format. “My family and I are so pleased to partner with Sourcebooks,” she said. “I have traveled around the world attending events celebrating L.M. Montgomery. I’m very proud of my grandmother’s achievements and would love to tell her how popular the Anne books continue to be, and how her novels are available in both the traditional trade book format and the remarkable new world of electronic books. She would be pleased and, possibly, astonished, to know that Anne of Green Gables continues to enchant both returning readers and a new generation who are discovering her novels for the first time.”