Wilifred Sheed’s Max Jamison is as hilarious as Terry Teachout says it is in “Neither Does He Spin.” The penultimate sentence of Teachout’s column says, “Though it’s out of print (surprise, surprise), you can easily procure a used copy.” Except it’s not anymore:
So, naturally, I did the only thing I could think of and listed my paperback copy for $299, since I bought it a year and change ago. Half the price of the $599 copy! I doubt it will sell, but although I like the novel, I don’t like $300 like it.
That is clearly an example of an author not realizing that his out-of-print book still had some value. He could have hired someone to digitalize it and make it available as an ebook.
Well, he’s also dead now, so I tend to assume he’s not as concerned about it as he once might’ve been.
I’ve also read that older books like Max Jamison can be hard to digitize and sell because before the 1990s, publishing contracts didn’t specify electronic rights, so if the publisher wants to do it, they have to track down the author or the author’s estate and buy the rights, which isn’t worth doing in most cases.