The ReportAugust 2003


It used to be the case that when a book was out of print, you were out of luck. Some collectors and hard core bibliophiles were able to make use of professional book sleuths, but for the average person, out of print titles were typically unavailable. The Internet is changing that. With the popularization of websites such as and, even casual readers are now able to track down books not available at their local bookstores, without having to deal with middlemen.

The diversity of titles in this report reflects the increasing democratization of access to out of print titles. Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here sits side by side with Fast Times at Ridgemont High on the list of the most sought after fiction and literature titles. John Denver and Winston Churchill both make our list, as well as books about UFOs, natural farming, and ex-nuns.

The Report is a measure of the most sought after out of print titles in America. We've been online since 1997, enabling individuals, libraries, and book dealers to track down and purchase books, new or used, in or out of print, rare of readily available.

Volume 1, Number 1 of the Report is based on our analysis of aggregate trends for out of print book searches between January and June 2003

Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe was a freelance writer for Rolling Stone when he spent a year at a Southern California high school, researching his book about school from the students' point of view. Crowe subsequently turned it into a screenplay for the popular 1982 movie of the same name. Even die-hard fans of the movie still admit that, as is so often the case, the book may have been better.
Standing Room Only by Elizabeth Fowler
The May 2003 death of accidental adventurer Elizabeth Fowler sparked a surge of interest in her autobiography, Standing Room Only. In 1945, Fowler was traveling from Africa to New York when her ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. She was the only woman among 35 survivors in a crowded lifeboat, battling sharks and rough seas for ten days. The book created a minor media sensation when it was first published some years later.
No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker
Edward Bunker was in San Quentin at age 17, and spent time on the FBI's Most Wanted list. He wrote his first novel, No Beast So Fierce, based on his experiences as an ex-con living in LA. The book is a cult favorite among aficionados of crime fiction. Quentin Tarantino called it "the best first person crime novel I have ever read." Unfortunately, it remains out of print in the United States, leaving readers to turn to used copies and international editions.

Top 10 Lists

Arts and Music
Painting, photography, dance, music, etc.; Architecture and design; Books about art and artistic movements; museum and auction catalogs
1 Madonna Sex
2 Thomas Craven A Treasury of American Prints
3 Hendrik Van Loon The Arts
4 Sadye Wilson Of Coverlets: The Legacies, The Weavers
5 Rockwell Kent World-Famous Paintings
6 Larry Clark Teenage Lust
7 William Cullen Bryant Picturesque America
8 Howard Schatz Pool Light
9 Irving Penn Passage: A Work Record
10 Arthur Leighton Guptill Norman Rockwell, Illustrator
Includes autobiography and memoirs, as well as biographies of athletes, politicians, artists, writers, etc.
1 Elizabeth Fowler Standing Room Only
2 Bobby Fischer My 60 Memorable Games
3 Paul Hoffman To Drop A Dime
4 A. Egmont Hake The Story of Chinese Gordon
5 Karen Armstrong Beginning the World
6 Geoffrey Douglas The Game of Their Lives
7 Charles M. Russell Good Medicine: Memories of the Real West
8 John Denver Take Me Home: An Autobiography
9 George Wethern A Wayward Angel
10 Robert Graves Goodbye to All That
Fiction and nonfiction; fairy tales, poetry; picture books
1 Dean Koontz Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages
2 Will McBride Show Me!
3 Roald Dahl The Gremlins
4 V. M. Hillyer A Child's History of Art
5 H. E. Marshall An Island Story: A Child's History of England
6 V. M. Hillyer A Child's Geography of the World
7 Johanna Johnston Sugarplum
8 Kin Platt Sinbad and Me
9 James Henry Daugherty Daniel Boone
10 John Blaine The Magic Talisman
Crafts and Hobbies
Cooking, gardening, collecting, pets, etc.; how-to books
1 Alice Starmore Aran Knitting
2 Ellen Anne Eddy Thread Magic
3 Deb Menz Color in Spinning
4 George Herter Professional Guide's Manual
5 Jeremiah Tower New American Classics
6 Andrew Loomis Creative Illustration
7 Rachael Ray Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook
8 Paul Magriel Backgammon
9 Giuliano Hazan The Classic Pasta Cookbook
10 Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking
Fiction and Literature
Current and classic titles, literary nonfiction, criticism, essays
1 Susan Kay Phantom
2 Sinclair Lewis It Can't Happen Here
3 Edward Dunsany A Glimpse From a Watch Tower
4 Cameron Crowe Fast Times at Ridgemont High
5 Madeleine L'Engle Ilsa
6 Hervey Allen Anthony Adverse
7 Nicholas Guild The Blood Star
8 Liz Berry Easy Connections
9 Edward Carl Stephens Blow Negative!
10 Thomas Mann Joseph and His Brothers
US and international; from ancient to modern
1 Winston Churchill The World Crisis
2 Calvin Hoffman The Murder of the Man Who Was "Shakespeare"
3 Ernst Friedrich War Against War
4 R. P. Hunnicut Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank
5 George Robert Elford Devil's Guard
6 R. P. Hunnicut A History of the American Light Tank
7 Joseph Dixon The Vanishing Race
8 George Kraus High Road to Promontory
9 Francis A. March History of the World War
10 Arthur Bernard Cook Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion
Mysteries and Thrillers
Thrillers, whodunits, classics as well as modern titles; popular detectives and spies
1 Rex Stout The Red Box
2 Donald Hamilton The Damagers
3 Ellery Queen (ed.) The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes
4 Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham) The James Bond Dossier
5 Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham) Colonel Sun
6 George Pelecanos Shoedog
7 Len Deighton The Ipcress File
8 Edward Bunker No Beast So Fierce
9 Margaret Frazer The Outlaw's Tale
10 Jack Vance The Man in the Cage
Popular Science & Technology
Scientific titles directed at a general audience, cars, personal finance, health, computers and Internet
1 Carl Sagan Murmurs of Earth
2 J. L. B. Smith Old Fourlegs: The Story of the Coelacanth
3 Antonín Rükl Atlas of the Moon
4 Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Romantic Love
5 T. Gilbert Pearson Birds of America
6 George Morgan Chinn The Machine Gun
7 Morris Jessup The Case For The UFO
8 Virgil I. Grissom Gemini: A Personal Account of Man's Venture Into Space
9 Masanobu Fukuoka The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming
10 Charles Owen Williamson Breaking and Training the Stock Horse
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Stephen King, Heinlein, Tolkien, etc.; ghosts, aliens, high tech
1 A. C. H. Smith Labyrinth
2 J. R. R. Tolkien Tree and Leaf
3 Stephen King Six Stories
4 Del James The Language of Fear
5 Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
6 Stephen King My Pretty Pony
7 Kristine Kathryn Rusch The Resistance
8 J. R. R. Tolkien Road Goes Ever On
9 Chris Marker La Jetée Ciné-Roman
10 Ben Bova The Star Conquerors
Society and Culture
Travel, entertainment, current events and politics
1 Clementine Paddleford How America Eats
2 Geneviève Antoine-Dariaux Elegance
3 Gustaf Aulén Christus Victor
4 B.C. Forbes America's Twelve Master Salesman
5 Edward L. Bernays Propaganda
6 Joseph C. Dillow Solomon on Sex
7 Véronique Vienne French Style: How to Think, Shop, and Dress Like a French Woman
8 Ray Garton In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting
9 Alan Gowans The Comfortable House: North American Suburban Architecture, 1890-1930
10 John Kerry The New Soldier