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Random House Inc. is suing an e-publisher for selling electronic versions of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice” and six other titles. The lawsuit against RosettaBooks was filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday; a preliminary hearing has been set for April 20. “These books are in print in paperback editions from various Random House, Inc. imprints and are important titles in Random House’s backlist publishing programs,” the company said Wednesday. Random House is the world’s largest English language trade publisher. RosettaBooks, which officially started business this week, offers e-novels by such contemporary authors as Vonnegut and Pat Conroy and offers such classic titles as Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” is No. 5 on RosettaBooks’ best-seller list. “This is not simply a suit against RosettaBooks for eight titles,” said Rosetta CEO Arthur Klebanoff. “This is Random House claiming the electronic rights of 21,000 titles on the basis that … a book is a book is an e-book.” The e-publisher also is selling some Random House titles that are not mentioned in the lawsuit, notably historian Daniel Boorstin’s prize-winning trilogy “The Americans.” But Harriett Dorsen, a senior vice president and general counsel for Random House, said the legal action wasn’t meant to be comprehensive. “The titles we chose to bring into the lawsuit are the ones that are most significant to us,” she said. Over the past year, Random House has started its own e-publishing imprint and announced it would re-issue a number of Modern Library titles in electronic form. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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