The first U.S. printing represented a paperback version from October 1953 by The Ballantine Publishing Group. Soon after the paperback, a hardcover version was released by introducing a special edition of 200 numbered and signed copies bound in asbestos. These were technically collections because the novel was issued with two short stories: And the Rock Cried Out and The Playground, which has been absent in later printings. Several months later, the story was serialized in the March, April, and May 1954 issues of nascent Playboymagazine.
Starting in January 1967, the book was subject to expurgation by its publisher, Ballantine Books, with the release of the “Bal-Hi Edition” intended at high school students. Changes made by the publisher included the censorship of the words “damn,” “hell,” and “abortion.” Seventy-five passages were modified, and two episodes were changed.
For instance, in the one episode, a drunk man became a “sick man” while cleaning fluff out of a human navel became “cleaning ears” in the other. For a while, both the uncensored and censored versions were available concurrently, but by 1973 Ballantine was publishing only the edited version that continued until 1979 when the subject came to Bradbury’s attention.
In 1979, one of Ray Bradbury’s friends showed him a censored version of the book. Bradbury demanded the withdrawal of that version and replacement of it with the original. In 1980 the original version became available once again. In this reinstated work, in the Author’s Afterword, Bradbury relates to the reader that it is common for a publisher to expurgate an author’s work. Still, he asserts that he will not tolerate the practice of manuscript “mutilation.”
The “Bal-Hi” editions are today known by the publisher as the “Revised Bal-Hi” editions.
An audiobook version narrated by the author was released in 1976 and even received a Spoken Word Grammy nomination. Another audiobook was released in 2005, read by Christopher Hurt. The e-book version of the novel was released in December 2011.