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Hello there, plus, Weekend Wonderings

Hi there, remember me?

I’ve been neglectful of this here reading blog.  I’ve been ill and overworked, mostly, and so I have been reading more and saying less.  I am still here, still excited to be part of this whole world of lit(especially kidlit)blogging, and am looking forward to renewing my dedication to it in the weeks to come.  I’ve been reading books a good bit, skimming and scanning blogs, and have my very first issue of The Horn Book waiting to be opened.

After a week-long hiatus, I have a new question for you!

How much and in what ways might readers benefit from or be hurt by contracts like the new boilerplate at Simon & Schuster, wherein a book effectively never goes out of print, but is always available via Print-On-Demand?

This may look like an easy question to answer, but don’t be deceived.  First, you may want to head over to Bookseller Chick and acquaint yourself with what I’m talking about.

In brief: In most contracts, when a book’s sales fall below a certain number, it goes out-of-print and the rights revert to the author.  The author is then free to sell the book to another publishing house.  In the new contract at Simon & Schuster, the minimum sales number would be removed, effectively allowing Simon & Schuster to keep rights to a book until it became public domain.

I’ve often been frustrated by finding a book I want to be out of print; I could see how having print-on-demand as an option would be good for readers.  On the other hand, it’s safe to assume that if a book has been relegated to Print-on-Demand only status, the publisher is not out there trying to get the book into the hands of new readers.  If the author owns the rights to the book and successfully sells the book to a different publisher, that publisher might make a bigger push for sales, thus bringing the book to a wider audience, thus benefitting new readers who might not have been looking for the book.

I’m not asking about author vs. publisher here, just potential reader benefits on each side.  If I’m a person looking for a specific book, it’d be nice to print it up.  If I’m a person who encounters a book I wouldn’t have looked for, but I do find it thanks to publisher action, then the out of print option is preferable.

What do you think?

The Previous Question:
How do readers benefit from author interviews?

Read answers at the original post.

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