Report Fall 2008
Out-of-print and in demand

At, we track demand trends for a wide range of out-print titles. Most of those books went out of print because of low demand or ailing publishers, but some have more interesting publishing histories, involving factors like suppression or controversy. Several of the titles in this year's Report fall in the latter category.

We've been fascinated by the story of David Ellsworth's Smith County Justice, a long nonfiction account of police corruption in Smith County, Texas. The book carefully documents alleged widespread police perjury, entrapment, and murder during the 1970s and 1980s. The book had a print run of only several hundred copies, and according to Ellsworth's supporters, "all unsold copies were ordered returned to the publisher and burned." The book went out of print immediately thereafter. As of the time of this writing, four copies are available for sale on, and another four are located in Texas libraries. Given the book's relative rarity, and the importance of its allegations, supporters have been helping keep the book in circulation by issuing an unauthorized ebook distributed online via sites like Wikileaks—generating even more demand for the print edition.

The Autobiography of Howard Hughes has a very different kind of history. In 1972, novelist Clifford Irving came close to pulling off one of the most ambitious literary frauds of the 20th century. By the 1970s, iconic industrialist and aviator Howard Hughes had become one of the most famous recluses in America. Irving tried to take advantage of the situation by convincing McGraw-Hill that he was working with Hughes to write his autobiography, backing up his story with a series of forged documents. Irving subsequently negotiated a $765,000 payment, which he deposited into a Swiss bank account opened under an assumed name. Hughes surfaced in 1972, shortly before publication, to repudiate the book; Irving went to prison for fraud. The work first saw the light of day in 1999, with the publication of a small private edition of The Autobiography of Howard Hughes; the book has since remained out of print in the U.S.

Featured Titles

The Jerusalem Bible illustrated by Salvador Dalí
The Jerusalem Bible was a new Catholic Bible translation released in 1966, produced directly from the original Hebrew and Greek. (The team of translators included J.R.R. Tolkien.) There were many editions printed, but only one included art by surrealist Salvador Dalí . The 32 images were part of Dalí's Biblia Sacra series, his visual responses to the Old and New Testaments, commissioned by a patron hoping to draw the artist back to his Catholic roots.
Escape from Laos  by Dieter Dengler
As Americans discuss the role of torture in times of war, this striking biography of an American fighter pilot captured during the secret bombing of Laos gives a sense of the brutal torture of POWs—and how one man managed to escape, and survive his ordeal.
Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman
With the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre approaching, and several recent documentaries on the topic, there's been increased interest in Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. Raven is one of the most respected books on the topic, written by a then-San Francisco Examiner journalist traveling with the delegation investigating the organization.

Top 10 Lists

Arts and Music
Artists and art history; painting, photography, dance; architecture and design, etc.
1 Madonna Sex
2 Bob Dylan Drawn Blank
3 Paul Taylor Dutch Flower Painting, 1600-1720
4 John D. Green Birds of Britain
5 Thomas Craven, editor A Treasury of American Prints
6 Salvador Dali, illustrator The Jerusalem Bible
7 Walt Kelly I Go Pogo
8 Bruce Davidson Subway
9 Hendrik Willem van Loon The Arts
10 William Cullen Bryant, ed Picturesque America or The Land We Live in         

Includes autobiography and memoir; biographies of athletes, politicians, artists, public figures, etc.
1 Norman Mailer Marilyn: A Biography
2 Sonora Carver A Girl and Five Brave Horses
3 Joan Crawford My Way of Life
4 Tim Reiterman  Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People
5 Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr., USAF The Long, Lonely Leap
6 Rubin Carter The Sixteenth Round : From Number 1 Contender to #45472
7 Dieter Dengler Escape from Laos
8 James W. English The Rin Tin Tin Story
9 Elmer Keith Hell, I Was There!
10 Frank Meier Up for Air: Diving for a Living

Fiction and nonfiction; books for toddlers through adolescents
1 Robb White The Lion's Paw
2 Watty Piper, editor The Bumper Book: A Collection of Stories and Verses for Children
3 Anna Elizabeth Bennett Little Witch
4 Tasha Tudor Tasha Tudor's Advent Calendar: A Wreath of Days
5 Tasha Tudor Mother Goose
6 Laura Bannon The Wonderful Fashion Doll
7 Anne Alexander  The Pink Dress
8 Eloise Jarvis McGraw Sawdust in His Shoes
9 Isaac Asimov The Roman Republic
10 Gerald Ames, author, & Charles Harper, illustrator  The Giant Golden Book of Biology: An Introduction to the Science of Life

Crafts, Hobbies & How-To
Includes cooking and gardening, sports and hunting, etc.
1 Steve Belichick Football Scouting Methods
2 Alice Starmore Aran Knitting
3 June Hiatt The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting
4 Charles Hayward Woodwork Joints
5 Andrew Loomis Creative Illustration
6 Susanna Lewis Knitting Lace: A Workshop with Patterns and Projects
7 Ray Jardine Beyond Backpacking
8 Mary and Vincent Price A Treasury of Great Recipes
9 Alice Starmore Tudor Roses
10 John Northern Hilliard Greater Magic: A Practical Treatise on Modern Magic 

Fiction and Literature
Current and classic titles, essays and criticism,  literary nonfiction, etc.
1 John L. Parker, Jr. Once A Runner: A Novel
2 Nora Roberts Promise Me Tomorrow
3 Christine Monson Stormfire
4 Taylor Caldwell Dear and Glorious Physician
5 Catherine Anderson Comanche Heart
6 Jean Larteguy The Centurions
7 Suzanne Brockmann Get Lucky
8 Lora Leigh Ties that Bind
9 C.S. Lewis The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition
10 Clifford Irving Autobiography of Howard Hughes

US and international, from ancient to modern
1 John DeMers French Quarter Royalty: The Tumultuous Life and Times of the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
2 Tom Lea The King Ranch 
3 Mark Baker Sons of a Trackless Forest
4 David Blum Flash in the Pan: Life and Death of an American Restaurant
5 William R. Shepherd Historical Atlas
6 Associated Press  The Torch Is Passed: The Associated Press Story of the Death of a President
7 Frederick J. Haskin The Panama Canal
8 Fletcher Pratt, editor The Civil War in Pictures
9 William B. Ziff The Rape of Palestine
10 P.S. Simpson and J.H. Simpson Torn Land

Mysteries and Thrillers
Classic as well as modern titles; whodunits, detectives and spies; noir and true crime
1 K. Hahn with Harold C. McKenney Legally Sane
2 David Ellsworth Smith County Justice
3 Paul Hoffman To Drop a Dime
4 John Lescroart Sunburn
5 Jack Vance Bad Ronald
6 Dale K. Myers With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D.Tippit
7 August W. Derleth Three Who Died
8 Margaret Mason Past Imperfect
9 William S. Baring-Gould, editor The Annotated Sherlock Holmes
10 Marcia Davenport My Brother's Keeper

Popular Science & Technology
Scientific titles directed at a general audience; includes personal finance and health
1 Carl Sagan Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record
2 Edward O. Thorp Beat the Market: A Scientific Stock Market System
3 John F. Straubel One Way Up
4 David Marr Vision
5 Roger C. Rule The Rifleman's Rifle Winchester's Model 70, 1936-1963
6 Philip Sharpe The Rifle in America
7 James Virgil Howe The Modern Gunsmith
8 W. J. Holland The Butterfly Book
9 Arthur Koestler The Act of Creation
10 The M.W. Kellogg Company Design of Piping Systems

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Novels, short story collections; ghosts, aliens, romance; movie and TV tie-ins; reference and criticism, etc.
1 Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) Rage
2 Curtis Richards Halloween
3 Andy Mangels Turnabout
4 David Williams Second Sight
5 Patricia Briggs Masques
6 Ray Bradbury Dark Carnival
7 Glen Cook She Is the Darkness
8 Luigi Serafini Codex Seraphinianus
9 F. Paul Wilson Nightworld
10 E.C. Tubb The Return

Society and Culture
Philosophy and anthropology; politics and sociology; entertainment, travel, current events, etc.
1 Lindsey Williams The Energy Non-Crisis
2 David Halberstam The Breaks of the Game
3 Ray Garton In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting
4 Erra Pater The Book of Knowledge: Treating of the Wisdom of the Ancients
5 Lawrence Lipton. The Holy Barbarians
6 Matthias Joseph Scheeben The Mysteries of Christianity
7 Charles Thomson, trans. The Septuaginet Bible
8 Margaret Bradford Boni, editor Fireside Book of Folk Songs
9 David Seabury The Art of Selfishness
10 R.B. Sparkman The Art of Manipulation: How to Get What Want Out of People in Business, in Your Personal Life, and in Your Love Life