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Keep Circulating The Tapes: Literature
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures are out of print. There's 73 of them. You can buy them used, if you want, but even though there's so many, this probably won't be a situation where Crack is Cheaper comes into play, because you'll never be able to find enough to ring up much of a bill. Your other option is downloading PDFs, and they're not hard to find. The only trouble is that apparently A.I. Is a Crapshoot to the point that it can't even transcribe a book properly; one novel ends up introducing three characters with identical personalities named Fitz, Htz, and Fltz; the vowel-challenged latter two, thankfully, never reappear. I wonder how that happened. There's also the "Canvine homework!", where the Canvines come from. And for some reason, the Doctor ends up "rutting" when any sensible person would be running. But you can actually fit 73 novels on a flash drive!
  • Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis. An e-book edition exists but if you want a print copy, you're out of luck. Kingsley Amis' other Bond works, the James Bond Dossier and The Book of Bond, are completely out of print, no E-book edition whatsoever.
  • Welcome to the NHK by Tatsuhiko Takimoto is out of print and despite the sheer fan veneration of the original book the manga and anime were based on, there's no word on when the light novel will be reprinted because the Tokyopop light novel line mostly folded. The sad thing is, out of all the light novels ever released in English, Welcome to the NHK was special because it was for its time one of the only ways young people found out about the hikikomori phenomenon since this concept was so niche and yet the book badly marketed this aspect.
  • The notoriously rare Final Destination: Death of the Senses, the last Final Destination novel published by the now defunct Black Flame, was only on the market for a short time before being recalled due to a printing error, and it's almost impossible to get a physical copy of it (as one website put it "getting your hands on a copy is like cutting off your own hand with a rubber spatula... it can be done, but it isn't easy...")
  • J. D. Salinger wrote a number of short stories other than the ones collected in Nine Stories, and blew off publishers who wanted to reprint them. So resourceful fans tracked down the magazines in which these stories originally appeared, and circulated photocopies of these.
  • The Dragonlance Kingpriest Trilogy is currently out of print, and shows no signs of going back into print any time soon. Which is a shame because it is one of the best trilogies in the entire novel line.
  • Back in the 50s, the Stratemeyer Syndicate began to rewrite and shorten The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books to remove outdated slang and terms (ie: "chum", "roadster", etc.), politically incorrect villains, racist terms, etc., and took the old editions off the market. Then, from 1991 to 2007, a publisher by the name of Applewood Books reprinted the first 16 Hardy Boys books and the first 21 Nancy Drew books with the original dustjackets and bindings. However, these have gone out of print (most can still be bought new), and the only way to get the original editions of the remaining books is to buy older editions from antique stores and eBay. Oddly enough, in-book ads for the original canon tout the revised books (plus the 20 or so that came after) as "The Originals"...
  • The autobiographical A Father's Story by Lionel Dahmer (father of Jeffrey Dahmer) is out of print.
  • Swans leader Michael Gira's short-story anthology The Consumer was published in the 1990s by 2.13.61 and is now out of print. The book can fetch high prices and is considered to be one of the most disturbing books ever released.
  • The compilation of stories under Stephen King's Pen Name Richard Bachman (The Bachman Books) has been out of print for many years. This is due to the fact that one of the included stories, Rage (in which a student holds his class hostage at gunpoint after shooting two teachers), was found in the locker of a student who committed a school shooting in 1997. When King learned that his story may have had some connection to the event he requested that it go out of print. While finding the other Bachman stories in the collection is not difficult, the only ways to find Rage is old copies and Internet reproductions.
  • Thomas Ligotti's classic Songs of a Dead Dreamer was printed in minuscule numbers, as was its revised 1989 edition. A handful of the stories are anthologized or available online, but the book as a whole is a highly valued rarity.
  • Any book that, for any reason, goes out of print, can become this, as can books which make significant changes between editions. For example, any of the pre-1951 printings of The Hobbit sell for much more money than those of the later editions, since they contain the original Chapter 5, where Gollum was friendly and offered to give Bilbo the Ring. This was then revised to fit better with the new story Tolkien was writing. Since there were only 4 printings, and many of those were destroyed in war-time, they are very rare.
  • The Campbell era of Astounding Science Fiction. Although many of the more popular stories are reprinted in anthologies, the only issues which are available as eTexts are from before Campbell took over, and no true compilation volumes have ever been printed. There was for a time in the 1950s a British reprint edition of Astounding. Copies of this seem to turn up fairly frequently in the UK, although issues may omit some content from the originals.
  • The Butterfly Kid, written in The Sixties, was so controversial for its positive-yet-realistic depiction of hippie culture that it nearly didn't get published. When it was published, it quickly went on to receive a Hugo nomination, and became a cult classic, but its print run was short-lived, and now it's been out of print for over thirty years.
  • The Fox and the Hound may have a Disney movie very loosely based on its title, but hasn't been in print for decades.
  • Some of Jules Verne's more obscure books have only been published in English once, at the turn of the 20th century. Very few new translations have ever popped up of these works since then. On top of that, these early English translations are known for their low quality. So unless you can read French, your only choices to read these obscure Verne works is to wait for new English translations or to suffer through the horrible old English ones, assuming you can find one at a used bookstore or public library.
  • Everything that K. A. Applegate and Michael Grant wrote together in The Nineties and early 2000's (Animorphs, Everworld, and Remnants) are out of print - Animorphs got a re-release of the first eight books, but that's it. They can all be obtained legally through Amazon, but usually only for an exorbitant price, especially if you want a new edition. However, it's quite easy to find copies online, and both authors have explicitly stated that these illegal copies are what keep the series alive.
  • The Terran Trade Authority books: They featured art by Chris Foss, Peter Elson, Angus McKie and several other popular Science Fiction artists from The Seventies. The four volumes of the original may go for as much as two hundred dollars. The first two volumes had a 2006 reprint, however, the original art was replaced by CGI recreations that resulted in flat, less detailed graphics. Also, the updated narrative backstory included explicit references to real-life current events such as 9/11 and the anti-Bush/anti American sentiment of the 2000s. This political pandering was met with criticism by readers who felt that the original's deliberate distance from contemporary issues and politics was part of its escapist charm.
  • Now that BIONICLE is officially over, the only way to read any of the chapter books or guides is to buy them used. At least you can find all the comics online....
  • Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets by Count Dante: Deadliest Man Alive. Actually more of a booklet that was advertised in comic books during The Sixties and The Seventies. Although there really was a guy (real name John Keehan) calling himself Count Dante, no one actually ever took his claims seriously, and it is highly suspected that sales of the booklet were immensely exxagerated. Although the so-called Kata Dante (Dance of Death) can be learned from several other sources, it is rare to encounter anyone who claims to have a copy of it or the free Black Dragon Fighing Society membership card that came with it. Self proclaimed Ninja Master Ashida Kim does claim to possess a copy, and he has posted photos of his BDFS membership card online. Make of that what you will.
  • The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, commissioned by Betty and Ian Ballantine and edited by Lin Carter, reprinted many classic fantasy novels and story collections with imaginative wrap-around cover art and brand-new introductions. Some of these titles are now widely available in other editions, such as Lord of the Rings and Gormenghast, while others (anything by Hannes Bok, for instance) continue to languish out of print—unsurprisingly, given that the series had a low print run and did not sell well, so collecting the entire BAF library is a rare achievement. And if you do manage to acquire the complete Ballantine Adult Fantasy line, congratulations on your beautiful bookshelf. (For decades, the line's two H. P. Lovecraft anthologies, The Doom That Came to Sarnath and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, were still in print albeit with different cover art, but they, too, recently entered this trope.)
  • Jane Gaskell's singularly strange Atlan series, which consists of either four or five novels, depending on which printings you read, went through several different editions in the U.K. and U.S....and has yet to see the light of day since the 1980s.
  • Many popular YA series in the 80s and 90s like Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club are out of print. Fans can still occasionally find them at used book stores or garage sales for not a lot of money or on the web for a few (sometimes many) dollars more. In the case of SVH, the first 4 books were re-released in 2008 and updated to modern times, but these are also now hard to find. When the SVH sequel The Sweet Life came out as an e-book in 2012, the first 12 books of SVH were also re-released as e-books with different covers but with the original stories intact.
  • Although Linda Goodman's two extraordinarily popular astrology books—Linda Goodman's Sun Signs and Linda Goodman's Love Signs—have remained healthily in print despite all their dated elements, the third, more generally occultic book in the trilogy, Linda Goodman's Star Signs, has not. Neither is her Brobdingagian autobiography, Gooberz, which is odd when one considers that her slimmer book of astrologically themed love poetry, Venus Trines At Midnight, is still in print. In fact, neither Linda Goodman's Star Signs nor Gooberz has an electronic version. Not to worry, though—the seeker can find the former book for very low prices on virtually every online used bookstore and in many of their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and the latter book isn't too much more difficult to track down. The books Goodman listed in her bibliographies, however, are a different story. (Amusingly, in both Love Signs and Star Signs, Goodman suggests that the reader "write to the publisher and urge republication" should a book they desire be out of print.)
  • Several of the books of Eden Phillpotts are now available in electronic format, and many are in the public domain to boot. But he was a ludicrously prolific author (his writing career spanned nearly six decades), and plenty of his works remain scarce. And even if Lin Carter had reprinted Phillpotts's fantasy titles as planned, they would still fall under this trope.
  • The Cult Classic War of Powers series by Robert Vardeman and Victor Milan has long been out of print. You might conceivably find individual novels in the series at used bookstores, or you can go the route of buying the two omnibus editions online, which are also out of print.
  • Robert Adams' Horseclans series. Most of the books have not been reprinted.
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