Monday, April 18, 2011

O: Out of Print

I've known authors who have had book rights returned to them and been informed the book is now 'out of print.'  At one time this might have brought sadness and tears.  Today having an older book returned to an author's power can be a cause for rejoicing.  A writer can use the many self-publishing venues on Amazon to make more money from a book already completed and edited.

Most new contracts have clauses claiming every possible type of right for a book and with the shelf life of ebooks being forever, publishers want to keep those rights for just as long.  But many authors are making the decision not to sign on the line and extend their contracts for their books published before the ebook surge took off.  Why give their rights back to a publisher who will take a huge chunk of the profits and do almost no promotion for the book? 

Out of print doesn't mean the end of a book anymore.  Very often a book is not going to print at all and will be offered as an ebook only.  As more authors get the rights returned to them for their backlists, they'll make them available for reasonable prices in the ebook market.  When a reader discovers an author new to them, they'll have easy access to all the author's past works.  It will be great.  Out of print will not mean unavailable.

Have you or an author you know made an out of print book available by self publishing?  How do you think this will influence the publishing industry and the wording of their contracts? 


  1. I don't have experience with this, but I learned something here today!

  2. I too lack experience in this area but I think it's great that "out of print" doesn't mean the end of the line for a book anymore.

  3. I have four books, originally published in the 60's and 70's, which are now out of print and whose rights have reverted to me. However, I wouldn't consider re-publishing them, at least not without copious revision, mianly because I know my writng has improved enormously since I write them, and also because they would seem 'dated' in many ways, technology (or lack of it) being one. Imagine modern characters without cellphones? LOL

  4. It's official. The world of publishing has changed. I think it's exciting!