It has been estimated that 99 percent of all the books ever published are out of print. Certainly, enough people want to read out-of-print books to make for a thriving second-hand book business.
A couple of Sundays ago I wrote about a book that's out of print: John O'Hara's Sermons and Soda-Water. I was surprised at how many people sent me emails about O'Hara and what I had to say about him.
It had occurred to me, while I was reading O'Hara during my vacation, that it would be interesting to read just the Gibbsville stories, to see how they relate to one another -- and whether they form a cohesive whole. Well, Matthew Bruccoli has put together a collection of the Gibbsville stories called Gibbsville, Pa. I just got a copy from Amazon, along with a copy of BUtterfield 8. I plan on reading them and maybe a couple of the novels and writing about O'Hara again.
The response to my column about O'Hara encourages me to continue writing from time to time about books no longer in print, and about neglected authors. Aficionados of used-book stores are just the sort of people to have favorite neglected writers. So if any of you read this, let me know about them.
Again, I am convinced that the literary blogosphere can bring about a seismic change in critical outlook. We just have to get the conversation going.