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This study presents the results of an analysis of the offers by out-of-print dealers to buy and to sell items in AB Bookman’s Weekly during two periods (1982 and 1992) compared with availability and prices in 2004 in, a metasearch site for out-of-print materials. After searching 786 items with 690 valid cases, the authors discovered a high availability of items in all four samples (95%) and a significant decline in prices in inflation-adjusted dollars (-48.7% for 1982 sell ads and -46.62% for 1992 sell adds). The items in the sample were most heavily concentrated in history, arts, and literature; but would be of interest to many libraries. The more important implications for libraries include: 1. the distinction between in-print and out-of-print in regards to availability has disappeared; 2. materials in the out-of-print market are often less expensive than when published; 3. retrospective buying projects are feasible; and 4. for monographs, purchase may be a reasonable substitute for interlibrary loan. The authors attribute these changes to the increased efficiency of the Internet and sophisticated databases in allowing out-of-print dealers to market their stock to potential customers.


Information and Library Science | Library and Information Science


This is the author's post print originally appearing in Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Services. Vol. 29, 2005, pp. 118-139.