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December 29, 2008

'Out of print' has lost its meaning — Biennial reminder


Back in 2006 I remarked on how certain MSM writers continued to bemoan the status of books now "out of print," with further encouragements to publishers to get such titles back into print.

Such admonishments were ridiculous then and even more so today, two years on, what with the ease of access to and relatively small price to be paid for such titles at a myriad of online sites.

Here, then, is that 2006 post along with links to sites where you can find just about anything ever published, often for a relative pittance.

    'Out of print' has lost its meaning

    I see the phrase from time to time in book reviews.

    "It is out of print and difficult to find."


    Reviewers who write stuff like this need to wake up and smell the 21st century.

    Here is where you can locate those "out of print and difficult to find" books:

    AddALL — www.addall.com/

    BookHq — www.bookhq.com/

    BookFinder — www.bookfinder.com/

    Abebooks — www.abebooks.com/

    I've long since lost count of the number of times I've purchased books that were "unobtainable" for reviewers and writers who said as much.

    Must be priceless to see their faces when they open the package.

    No matter — for me, it's just something I like doing.


Though I didn't note it in my 2006 post, Amazon, which frequently has a ton of listings of used copies for sale oftimes starting at 1 cent, is an excellent starting point for your search, with the advantage of letting you buy the books you want with 1-Click (assuming you have an account).

If you don't, you should — it's transformative and still by a country mile the best online shopping experience on the planet.

Regarding the use of "out of print" as a scold in MSM, Jonathan Yardley, the Washington Post's book critic, is the writer whose dead-tree-version words I see most often invoking the phrase.

He ought to cease-and-desist before his paper does.

Look for the wood pulp Washington Post incarnation to publish its final issue within the next five years.

December 29, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Still, if you're ordering 35 copies of a novel or play for a class, "out of print" has a lot of meaning. Sometimes you can get them online (through Early English Books Online, for example), but it's hard for students to read digitalized photos of early modern printed materials, and expensive to print out.

Posted by: Bardiac | Dec 29, 2008 7:16:43 PM

Here's one that should be up there with the sites you have already posted. It is like a mega search engine of used and rare books. Via Libri http://www.vialibri.net

I obtained a hard to find edition of poems by Rilke through it a while back and will vouch for how well the site works.

Posted by: Milena | Dec 29, 2008 5:28:34 PM

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