Some books go out of print and simply disappear. But others stay in demand long after their publishers have ceased to print them. Some are collectible, others are unusual, and many are just plain useful. Bookfinder.com annually prints a list of the 100 most sought-after out-of-print books in America over the past year.
Last year, the group noted "a rush on personal finance and banking policy books." In 2010, however, frugality seemed to reign as "manuals and do-it-yourself guides for sewing, home repair, and other productive pastimes" took the lead.
Below are the Top 10 books on this year's list. Don't be surprised if you haven't heard of most of them. If you're not a coin collector, for instance, you're unlikely to know No. 10 ("ERIC: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins," by Rasiel Suarez). And unless you're a real die-hard Stephen King fan you might not have stumbled upon No. 9 ("Rage," by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman).
But for one reason or another, these titles all have their fans – even though, in some cases, their authors wish it were not so.
As for a second lease on life, some of these books are popular enough that new editions are a possibility. (No. 13, "Aran Knitting" by Alice Starmore, will be reprinted this year.) But in at least two cases noted below, Bookfinder.com predicts that reprinting will never occur.
1. "Sex," by Madonna. You would think that there might be interest in reprinting a book on the top of this list, but Bookfinder.com suggests that that will never happen to this collection of explicit photos of Madonna published in 1992. Although the book has long been a collector's item, Bookfinder.com predicts that, "Since Madonna is never one to do something twice, and the fact that the once highly controversial book is less edgy than it once was leads us to guess that Sex will remain out-of-print."
2. "In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting," by Ray Garton
3. "The Secret of Instantaneous Healing," by Harry Douglas Smith
4. "Basic Building Data: 10,000 Timeless Construction Facts," by Don Graf
5. "Promise Me Tomorrow," by Nora Roberts. Here's another title that Bookfinder.com suggests will remain forever out of print. The reason: "Nora Roberts has actively persuaded her loyal fan base to avoid this early novel for years. She hopes Promise Me Tomorrow is never republished. We suspect a used bookshop is the only place you will find this title."
6. "Ticket to Ride," by Dennis Potter
7. "Codex Seraphinianus," by Luigi Serafini
8. "Eve of the End," by Allan D. Richter
9. "Rage," by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
10. "ERIC: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins," by Rasiel Suarez
The full list of the Top 100 most sought-after out-of-print titles can be seen by clicking here.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.