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Book Talk A Place To Discuss Books and Audiobooks

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Old 05-10-07, 10:46 PM   #1
Buttmunker
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Why are good books "out of print?" (ex: "The Short-Timers" aka Full Metal Jacket)

I find sometimes that books that were once popular in their own right (prior to becoming a movie) have become discontinued, or "out of print." The only way to obtain these books is by spending a lot of money - thanks to the internet, this is at least possible. Prior to the internet, I suppose it was very hard.

But if you got the cash now...

Books like Fast Times At Ridgemont High by writer/director Cameron Crowe go for over $100.00. Namely because they're unavailable, but being sold by people who are willing to sell it at a cost. Frankly, what the hell is a hundred dollars? If you got the book, why get rid of it? What will a hundred dollars do for you? Fill up your gas tank twice. I say, keep the book, consider yourself lucky to have it.

Anyway, if the book was good, and it is obviously sellable, why don't publishers continue pressing the book?

The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford, the novel that later became Full Metal Jacket by director Stanley Kubrick is a solid read. It was positively received and reviewed when the book was first published, and continues to be enjoyed by first-time readers. Yet the book is "out of print," and only obtainable at high prices from people willing to lose possession of it.

WTF. What gives with this??
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Last edited by Buttmunker; 05-10-07 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 05-11-07, 08:48 AM   #2
djmont
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Many times, the rights have reverted back to the author (or the author's estate) and s/he chooses not to republish the work. I suspect that this is probably the case with Fast Times. More often, though, there just isn't as much demand for these books as you might think, and there isn't the urge on the part of the publishers to seek them out and make a deal. Most of the time you'll only see an OOP book brought back if it's as part of a push for an author's new work.
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Old 05-12-07, 10:11 PM   #3
Joe Molotov
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I'd been looking for an affordable copy of Tim Power's "On Stranger Tides" for a while, until it finally got reprinted last year. It had been OOP for most of the 90's I think.
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Old 05-13-07, 05:53 PM   #4
dhmac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttmunker
The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford, the novel that later became Full Metal Jacket by director Stanley Kubrick is a solid read. It was positively received and reviewed when the book was first published, and continues to be enjoyed by first-time readers. Yet the book is "out of print," and only obtainable at high prices from people willing to lose possession of it.
It's disappointed that this book has been out-of-print for years (I unfortunately loaned my copy out years ago, never to see it again), but at least it's available to read online here at a site dedicated to Gustav Hasford's work that's run by the late author's cousin.
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Last edited by dhmac; 05-14-07 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 05-18-07, 11:52 PM   #5
Jay G.
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This reminds me of Terry Pratchett's author's note for the reprint of The Carpet People, in which he explains that the publishers "got so fed up with telling people that there was no demand for it that they decided it was time for a new edition."

djmont got it right when he said it boils down to securing rights and enough demand. Remember the price is a product of both demand and supply. Something with a relatively low demand can have a high price if the supply is relatively smaller.

However, considering that the two books that Buttmunker mentioned are tied to movies that are such perennial favorites, it seems odd that publishers would allow these to stay out of print for so long. At the least they could be packaged in a volume that also contains the scripts for the film adaptations.
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