Thursday, December 4, 2008
Thoughts on Books Going Out of Print
I was just reading Mitali Perkin's blog full of excitement for great reviews and the sad news of books going out of print. I join in her joy and then her sadness as I, too, have had works go out of print. I thought I'd share my thoughts on this facet of the publishing life.
First of all, out of print today is so different than yesterday. There's Print on Demand now, which keeps works available in paperback. There are e-books to continue an outreach. Sure, it's not the same as the brand new print run in hardback, but it's a consolation that authors in the past didn't have.
Generally speaking, those of us who are published have had the privilege of sharing our thoughts with thousands. Not everyone gets the chance to speak to such a vast audience. Not everyone has a chance to contribute on such a scale. Even if the book is small and quiet, there was a hearing far beyond one person speaking to another.
Each published book has a lifespan to speak and reach others. Life spans have natural ends. Let's do give a standing ovation to libraries that extend our whispers beyond print run dates.
In closing, let's release our very best into the world. Make the words matter greatly for whatever life they might experience and the lives they may touch. Then finally, lets stand next to each other as the works quiet, reminding each other, "Well done, writer. Well done."
Well done, Mitali, well done.