Posted March 3, 2014 by in Book Lists

2013′s Top 100 Out of Print Books

While the publishing industry is changing rapidly, for the moment paper printed books remain the main way for an author’s work to be sold. Each year publishers decide for one reason or another that a book should no longer be produced and add it to the growing list of out-of-print books. Deciding to put a book out-of-print is usually due to lack of interest, but some publishers make the decision because of non-related factors. However, sometimes an out-of-print book still has a buyer’s market. At the end of 2013, the top 100 out-of-print books included coffee table books, cookbooks, fiction, and science. Here is a selection of the top 100 out of print books, as of 2013.

Movies to Book

Photo credit: Forces of Geek

Photo credit: Forces of Geek

  1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, by Cameron Crowe, was published in 1981. Crowe directed the film version in 1982, and is the director of other famous movies such as Vanilla Sky and Jerry Maguire. With a character-driven plot line that focuses on six teenage characters, the book proved relatable and fun. From the surfer guy to the nerd, the characters cover the basic personality types from high school memories. The book contains a few details that viewers won’t find in the movie, which makes it a highly collectible and desirable find, #52 on the list of most desired out-of-print books of 2013.
  2. Labyrinth, by A.C.H. Smith, is a novelization of the Jim Henson film of the same name. In contrast to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, this book was written after the movie was released, instead of before. The events that occur in the novel mirror those from the film with some rare differences including some background information about the main character’s family. This out-of-print book is #12 on the list of in-demand titles for 2013.
  3. The Body, by Stephen King, is one of the author’s four titles among the top 100 most wanted out-of-print books. This American coming-of-age novella was made into the film Stand by Me in 1986, featuring stars such as River Phoenix and Kiefer Sutherland. Not only was the title changed for the movie version, but many of the plot’s details are distinctly different, making the print copy of this novella valuable and unique. The Body comes in at #16.


Photo credit: Abe Books Blog

Photo credit: Abe Books Blog

  1. The Birds of Britain, by John D. Green, may not sound terribly exciting from its title. However, once a reader starts flipping through the photos, it becomes clear enough that the author uses the word “birds” in the British slang sense to mean women. Published in 1967, these famous English beauties are in varying stages of retro glam, including some near-naked photos. All the photographs are in crisp black and white, bound in a gorgeous glossy-paged binding that measures 14 by 10.5 inches, a perfect coffee table book. This book ranks #67 out of the 100 most sought after out-of-print books.
  2. Afronauts, by Cristina de Middel, comes in at #15. This work of photography combines ingenuity and history in a beautiful set of photographs that encapsulated the story of the Zambian space program in 1964. The photographs are a recreation of symbolic fiction, depicting astronauts covered in snakeskin and wild African animals posing with people.
  3. Sex, by Madonna, was published in 1992 and went out of print after its first run. The book of photography features Madonna and other recognizable celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice in sexually explicit photos; this book is not for the faint of heart. Ranking as #1, this book was the most coveted out-of-print book of 2013.

 Famous Authors

  1. The Jerusalem Bible was first published in 1966 and is considered the first modern Bible for Catholics. It was the #7 most coveted out-of-print book of 2013. Not only was the book illustrated by Salvador Dali, but a main contributor was J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. Dali was best known for creating dream-like, surrealist paintings, such as his piece with the melting clocks. The chance to see these religious-themed works makes this title an amazingly valuable find. Tolkien was a linguistics genius and gave this Bible a fresh English translation, embracing a modern and scholarly approach.
  2. The Murmurs of Earth, by Carl Sagan, has a strikingly unique subject matter. In 1977 a craft was sent into space containing all kinds of cultural reflections of humanity. Those who collected these recordings of music, nature, and voices, along with pictures representing our planet, tried to give an accurate representation of the planet as a whole. Sagan, a scientist who also was cherished as a famous celebrity, wrote mostly nonfiction but was also well known for the science fiction book made into the film Contact. The Murmurs of the Earth comes in at #17.
  3. Promise Me Tomorrow is by Nora Roberts, who has published over 200 romance novels that have spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her novels are beloved by readers around the world and she has also been acknowledged for her philanthropic efforts. When asked about this out-of-print novel, Roberts has discouraged her readers from seeking it out, criticizing the writing and the story of her first novel. Since it’s #6 out of the top 100 out-of-print books in 2013, one might assume that the sentimental value of the novel ranks pretty highly with her fans.

Find the complete list of the top 100 out of print books in the Bookfinder 2013 report.

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Lauren V. Bryant

Having studied library and information sciences in a graduate program at San Jose State University, Lauren is a professional librarian who has worked in school and public libraries. She currently works at a public library where she helps the public get e-books and other downloadables on their devices. Check out Lauren's website, http://www.LaurentheLibrarian.com/ for more book related articles and content. Check out all my articles.