The ReportAugust 2004

Out of Print Books in the News

Now, more than ever, out of print books are helping shape the public debate. Two of the top five most searched for out of print books are ripped straight out of the headlines.

In 1971, a young vet named John Kerry joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He volunteered to edit a book called The New Soldier, about the group's case against what they perceived as an unjust and badly mismanaged war. Three decades later, Senator Kerry is the Democratic Presidential candidate, and The New Soldier is the #1 most sought after out of print Society and Culture title in America. Fans and critics are hunting down copies of the book, hoping it can shed more light on the candidate's views on war and other foreign policy issues.

In 1981, first-time author Lynne Cheney wrote a novel called Sisters, a bodice-ripper about nineteenth century feminist pioneers in Wyoming, dealing in part with lesbian relationships. Two decades later, the historian and wife of Vice President Dick Cheney is very much in the public eye, and the hard-to-find Sisters is the #1 most sought after Fiction title in America. With Cheney's opposition to the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in the news, readers are looking toward her novel to learn more about her views on gay/lesbian issues.

Dry Guillotine by René Belbenoit
In 1922, French World War I vet and convicted burglar René Belbenoit was shipped off to Devil's Island, a harsh penal colony (think Alcatraz or Guantanamo) off the coast of French Guiana, north of Brazil. He made four daring escape attempts over the next thirteen years, finally making a several thousand mile journey culminating in the United States. He told his story in his book Dry Guillotine, a muckraking adventure story that helped convince the French public to close Devil's Island for good.
Where Troy Once Stood by Iman Wilkens
Retired economist Iman Jacob Wilkens spent years trying to uncover the story behind the Trojan War. His hypothesis: that the real Trojan War took place in England, and that The Iliad and The Odysey are based on oral histories of a major war between Celtic peoples circa 1160 BC.Where Troy Once Stood details his surprising conclusions.
Phantom by Susan Kay
British novelist Susan Kay was intrigued after she watched the musical The Phantom of the Opera. She read the original 1911 novel by Gaston Leroux, but it didn't answer all her questions, so she wrote her own retelling of the story. Kay's Phantom is darker and more detailed than Leroux's, delving deep into the characters' back stories. Her novel has been a favorite with Phantom junkies since its release.

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 Hendrik Van Loon The Arts
3 Larry Clark Teenage Lust
4 W.C. Bryant Picturesque America
5 Thomas Craven (ed.) A Treasury of American Prints
6 Irving Penn Worlds in a Small Room
7 Josef Koudelka Gypsies: Photographs
8 Irving Penn Moments Preserved
9 Arthur Leighton Guptill Norman Rockwell, Illustrator
10 Rockwell Kent (ed.) World-Famous Paintings
Includes autobiography and memoirs, as well as biographies of athletes, politicians, artists, writers, etc.
1 Hunter S. Thompson The Curse of Lono
2 Elizabeth Fowler Standing Room Only
3 William F. Sayers Don't Die on My Shift
4 Paul Hoffman To Drop a Dime
5 John Denver Take Me Home: An Autobiography
6 Bobby Fischer My 60 Memorable Games
7 Norman Mailer Marilyn, a Biography
8 René Belbenoit Dry Guillotine: Fifteen Years among the Living Dead
9 Charles Silver Lillian Gish
10 A. Egmont Hake The Story of Chinese Gordon
Fiction and nonfiction; fairy tales, poetry; picture books
1 Roald Dahl The Gremlins
2 Dean Koontz Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages
3 H. E. Marshall An Island Story: A Child's History of England
4 Anne Alexander The Pink Dress
5 Robb White The Lion's Paw
6 Dixie Willson Honey Bear
7 Christine Noble Govan The Pink Maple House
8 Watty Piper The Bumper Book
9 Richard Scarry Busy, Busy World
10 V.M. Hillyer A Child's Geography of the World
Crafts and Hobbies
Cooking, gardening, collecting, pets, etc.; how-to books
1 June Hiatt The Principles of Knitting
2 Alice Starmore Aran Knitting
3 Ellen Anne Eddy Thread Magic
4 Andrew Loomis Creative Illustration
5 William Dunton Old Quilts
6 Herbert M. Baus The Master Crossword Puzzle Dictionary
7 John Fisher Body Magic
8 HJR Murray A History of Chess
9 David Bryant Wheels and Looms: Making Equipment for Spinning and Weaving
10 Elly Sienkiewicz Spoken Without a Word
Fiction and Literature
Current and classic titles, literary nonfiction, criticism, essays
1 Lynne Cheney Sisters
2 Gilbert Adair The Holy Innocents: A Romance
3 Theodore Roszak Flicker
4 Sinclair Lewis It Can't Happen Here
5 Susan Kay Phantom
6 Cameron Crowe Fast Times at Ridgemont High
7 Sir Compton Mackenzie The Monarch of the Glen
8 Nora Roberts Promise Me Tomorrow
9 Robert Klane The Horse is Dead
10 Leon Uris Battle Cry
US and international; from ancient to modern
1 Winston Churchill The World Crisis
2 Iman Wilkens Where Troy Once Stood
3 George Robert Elford Devil's Guard
4 David A. Yallop In God's Name
5 Mark A. Baker Sons of a Trackless Forest
6 Viktor Suvorov Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?
7 Arthur Bernard Cook Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion
8 William H. Tipton Catalogue of Tipton's Photographic Views of the Battlefield of Gettysburg
9 Robert J. Groden The Killing of a President
10 William Manchester The Glory and the Dream: a Narrative History of America
Mysteries and Thrillers
Thrillers, whodunits, classics as well as modern titles; popular detectives and spies
1 James Patterson Virgin
2 Rex Stout The Red Box
3 Barbara Davis Precious Angels: A True Story of Two Slain Children and a Mother Convicted of Murder
4 Anthony Bruno The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer
5 Margaret Frazer The Outlaw's Tale
6 Lindsey Davis The Silver Pigs
7 Ellery Queen (ed.) The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes
8 Donald Hamilton The Damagers
9 Donna Leon Death in a Strange Country
10 Toni Kelner Dead Ringer
Popular Science & Technology
Scientific titles directed at a general audience, cars, personal finance, health, computers and Internet
1 Antonín Rükl Atlas of the Moon
2 Carl Sagan Murmurs of Earth
3 T. Gilbert Pearson Birds of America
4 Seth A. Klarman Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor
5 Eli Ginzberg Beyond Human Scale: The Large Corporation at Risk
6 Frank Lake Clinical Theology
7 Alfred Byrd Graf Exotica
8 Bruce Weber Gentle Giants: A Book Of Newfoundlands
9 Ingo Swann Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy
10 Leon Lyons Helmets of the Deep
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Stephen King, Heinlein, Tolkien, etc.; ghosts, aliens, high tech
1 Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
2 Trisha Baker Crimson Night
3 Jon F. Merz The Fixer
4 Tim Powers On Stranger Tides
5 Stephen King My Pretty Pony
6 J.R.R. Tolkien Tree and Leaf
7 David Williams Second Sight
8 Del James The Language of Fear
9 John Norman Magicians of Gor
10 Ira Levin This Perfect Day
Society and Culture
Travel, entertainment, current events and politics
1 John Kerry The New Soldier
2 James St. James Disco Bloodbath
3 Edward Wegmann The Water-Supply of the City of New York, 1658-1895
4 Slim Aarons A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life
5 Eleanor Roosevelt If You Ask Me
6 L. Fletcher Prouty The Secret Team
7 Rodney Collin The Mirror of Light
8 Veronique Vienne French Style: How to Think, Dress and Shop like a French Woman
9 Olivia Goldsmith Simple Isn't Easy: How to Find Your Personal Style and Look Fantastic Every Day!
10 Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier One Special Summer