Gather around, young ones. Once upon a time, when a publisher found that a book was no longer selling enough copies to cover the cost of another print run, they stopped printing it
. (It was a dark time.) When this happened, if you wanted a copy, basically your only hope was to find someone who owned a copy and mug them, or to haunt second-hand book stores, waiting for a copy.1
So, Fellow Olds, what was that book, for you? The one you spent years yearning for, stalking all the used book stores in your city, and several further afield? Did you find it? Was it worth it?Is it now available as an ebook
For me, this book was the third in a series, The Tales of the Nedao
, by Ru Emerson. Ru Emerson was probably most active in the late eighties and early nineties, and I think she compares well with other authors of that time, such as Mercedes Lackey, and Robin McKinley. Tales of the Nedao
was the story of a princess who leads her people in exile. The first book was mostly about their escape from their enemies, but all the princess's struggle to be an active leader rather than a figurehead. The second book is about the establishment of their city, securing the resources they need to live, beginning diplomatic relations with surrounding peoples, and fighting off their enemies.
Also, she had a magical telepathic cat, so you can understand why I name-checked Lackey.
And there I was stuck, for perhaps two years, until I found all three in a used book store. I purchased the third, and left cackling, with no remorse for the pain I was inflicting on some future buyer. Let them suffer as I have suffered!
The third book was a fantastic let-down. I'm not sure if it would have been if I hadn't been waiting for it for so long, but in the third book, she is kidnapped and raped by her sorcerous enemy, and there is some "oh no, my babies!" peril. I was probably not as rabidly feminist then as I am now, so I found it mostly unpleasant and distressing, rather than irritating. She does eventually get to stab the hell out of her enemy, so there's that.
Anyway, all are available now as ebooks
, but if the described does not appeal to you, I recommend instead her book The Princess of Flames
, which has a lot of the same "Princess against the odds" elements, but with bonus tarot, and girls dressed as boys.
Also, it is not available as ebook (at least, not in a type-set, professional way, although the internet seems eager to provide) so you can also share my book-store experience.1.
At this point, generally, the rights reverted to the author, but the economics of the situation did not change, so unless the author was a little nutty and decided to self-publish at a loss, that was usually the end of it. Nowadays, once the rights revert, the author generally starts selling it as an ebook.This post also on dreamwidth ( comments)