No, no. There is no misspelling. OOP. It is an official classification. You have to ask yourself, Why would anyone do it?
Out of Print. Book lovers the world over just collectively cringed. Why would anyone ever take a book out of print? Are you shocked there is more than one reason?
The Dearly Departed
The most common reason to take a book out of print is no sales. If your book is not selling, some computer is slaving away to report all zeroes to you on your sales report every month. Even machines deserve job satisfaction. Before you send the funeral announcements, learn a bit more. OOP is not always an epitaph.
The next most common reason to take a book OOP is because it is flawed or incomplete. Especially in terms of non-fiction, when facts are revealed after press, information can be criticized as incorrect. In fiction, occasionally beta readers and editors miss (or take the author’s word) support for events is flawed. Astute readers review accordingly, often without the sandwich method.
When corrections are necessary or information evolves, going out of print may not signal the end for the book.
If information needs to change, taking a book OOP is common to create demand for a second edition. The improved model should contain sufficient changes to keep buying the book again be beneficial without making the reader feel taken for buying the first edition.
During the time you are preparing the second edition, the unavailability of the original can draw interest if you are targeting those who were teetering on purchasing the original. The new book can make the reader feel satisfied with waiting by feeling like a superior product is available.
OOP for single titles just before they are placed into a set is becoming only slightly more common. For example, you have a five book series. Book one is waffling at the edge of the no sales cliff. Prior to the release of the last book, taking the first out of print is an option, but a calculated risk.
In theory, those who have followed the series to its natural conclusion will buy the final book. Their reviews will stimulate new customers to pick up the series. Buying the books altogether is attractive… to some. There is a large split between those who will splurge for a set without having read most (or any) of the books and those who want to collect the set after having read them all.
The risk is one which leads more authors and publishers to debut sets when the last book reaches its sales decline.
Anniversary editions and sets are a tried and true method of sales stimulation. The ground work for preparing a book for a re-release includes taking the original out of print, cultivating new readers, rallying old readers and delivering a new edition worthy of collection.
Inclusions for this edition can be recognition for awards, foreword and/or afterword by a noted author or celebrity, “lost” or deleted text, additional resources and/or illustrations and a new cover. In the interest of stating the obvious, any errors in the original release should be corrected.
Taking a book out of print as a gimmick to stimulate sales is not surefire without a continually evolving reader base. Giving a book a rest can offer you the opportunity to spend more time marketing a re-release, but it comes with the inherent risk of alienating readers who bought the first edition.
Retiring a book you consider a literary or sales failure is a matter of choice. Most authors prefer to leave all their titles available for at least trickle-in income.
Ultimately, you must decide if the benefits of going out of print exceed the risks.
Do you own a book which is now out of print? Have you bought a second edition of a book you previously read or a set?
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