Open Thread: Forgotten gems

(Posted by chris the cynic)

When things go out of print they have a tendency to disappear.  The reason is pretty obvious: a book that has $1.95 printed on the spine from 1978 now sells used for prices ranging from $45.95 to $577.70 and new for prices ranging from $430.38 to $430.40 (there are only two new available, hence the limited range in price.)  Those prices do not include shipping.

One might be tempted to point and laugh at the people who think someone will pay more for used than new, but that misses the point that the world’s largest bookstore only has 15 in stock total and those supplies are unlikely to be replenished in ever.

The books are, basically, gone.

When this sort of thing happens the thing that is basically gone has a tendency to get forgotten for the simple fact that it isn’t around anymore.

I just bumped into a game from 1998 that looks highly interesting that I’d never heard of, that’s a mere 15 years ago.  Maybe it’s crap.  Maybe it’s a forgotten gem.

So, lot of talking done, here’s the prompt:

What do you think has been unfairly forgotten?

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it.  Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

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7 thoughts on “Open Thread: Forgotten gems

  1. Firedrake November 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    A thing I mention sometimes, can’t remember if I’ve said it here. One of the reasons old things stay disappeared is accounting. If you’ve bought the rights to a series of books, say, you can keep it on your accounts at the price you paid for it… unless you re-release it and it’s a flop, at which point you have to take a paper loss. So there’s an incentive to sit on things rather than make them available again.

    On-line prices for things that don’t change hands very often can get bizarrely elevated, because the price-setting engines that booksellers use can’t make sensible predictions if they don’t have a good basis of transactions to work from.

    Also: H. Beam Piper. Forgotten after his death, reissued in the 1980s, now forgotten again.

  2. elliemurasaki November 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Copyright law pisses me off so bad. That 1978 book? Per the Copyright Act of 1909 (in force till 1976), that book should have had a chance to become public domain in 2006. (And if it wasn’t profiting its copyright holder in 2006, they shouldn’t have opted to renew. My tenses are fucked, though, I forget how to do a conditional counterfactual properly, or if that’s even the name of the thing I’m trying to do.) Making a thing public domain is a marvelous way to make it possible to make the thing available. It could have gone on Project Gutenberg, for example. Somebody would have to have enough interest in the book to digitize it and check it for transcription errors, but that would be the only barrier.

  3. Steve Morrison November 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    FWIW, quite a bit of Piper is on Project Gutenberg.

  4. lonespark42 November 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    …and then I read this as “forgotten germs,” which made me think of deadly and/or diseases that have passed out of memory in many parts of the world.

  5. Firedrake November 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    We so nearly added mumps to that list. Damn Wakefield and the rest of the anti-vaxxers, damn them to ten thousand hells.

  6. lonespark42 November 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Er, that was supposed to say “deadly and/or common diseases.”

  7. lonespark42 November 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    …and in US History II, the class is studying Women’s Sufferage and watching Iron Jawed Angels, aka The Adventure’s of a Purple Hat, aka Passing the Bechdel Test Liek Woah. I don’t know if it’s a forgotten gem, but I am enjoying it so far. There are fantastic performances, and tons of women with different personalities and approaches and concerns.

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