Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Out of Print- feels sad- like I've lost a friend

A strange thing happened to me today.  I discovered one of my books had gone out of print -  it has gone....possibly forever,  and the strange thing is how sad it made me feel.  I wasn't expecting that.

I was busy putting things together in preparation for trips away over the next few weeks -it being March that exciting time when World Book Day celebrations seem to extend to much of the month. I was in cheerful mood I had a great event yesterday with a class in the local library, they had been very responsive and they seemed to have enjoyed it as much as I did. I was speaking about myths and legends something I'd not done for a while and  I based the talk around one of my books  The Trojan Horse and other Greek Myths. 

Yes, I know it's not exactly a catchy title but it does what it says on the cover, 6 Greek myths retold as fairly short stories. They are a good length for using during a talk ( or in class, which they were designed for).

I wrote this book a while ago for an educational publisher and  it had strict guidelines but the most challenging part had been to find 6 Greek myths that could be easily told and were appropriate for primary school children. 

One of the other interesting facets of the book was that the stories were designed to be read by different abilities within a class, but not obviously so.    The first two were easier to read,  the middle two were for the average reader and those struggling could read them with assistance and the last two were more challenging. 

When I checked my bookshelf I realised I had only a couple of copies of the book and thought I would like to have a few more so I emailed the publisher and asked about buying some.  Today I got an email to tell me that the book was not only out of print but there were no copies of it left.

The editor did apologise that this had happened as I should have been told beforehand and offered any copies they had left and I accept that mistakes happen and there is not much that can be done about it, but it is irritating because the exact same thing happened not that long ago with another book, again one about myths and legends...

Is there a connection, are the myths fading and disappearing all by themselves..... makes you wonder if there's not something weird going on here........  ?

But seriously, I was surprised at how sad I felt when I thought that the book was no longer in print.   I didn't expect that I hadn't realised the attachment I still had to this book which I wrote some years ago. 

Is it the fact that you put so much of yourself into every book, the creative energy, lavishing love and attention, time spent on research and crafting the words, that when they are suddenly not there...?

I feel a bit like that chap in the advert who goes looking for a copy of his book and then you see the delight on his face when he finds a copy!  At least I have a couple of copies left.


  1. I took a look on Fishpond (our equivalent of Amazon Downunder) and it was advertised at $58.99 and then declared "unavailable". It must be like one of your children leaving home!

  2. Yes, Cat, exactly like that, except that it's unlikely to come back- not even with its dirty washing!

  3. My sympathies - it feels like a bereavement. I think you should put the book back into print yourself - they don't cost much if you use a print-on-demand facility and then it will be available again. Sadly publishers are cutting their backlists and a lot of good books are vanishing. It's up to us authors to keep our work out there!