The Most Wanted Out-of-Print Books in the US


Each year, BookFinder compiles a list of the most sought-after out-of-print books in US, and it’s usually topped by Madonna’s controversial 1992 coffee-table classic, Sex. This year is no exception. We’ve rounded up the remaining titles in the top 10 for you after the jump; we suggest that you keep your eyes peeled for these the next time you’re searching through piles of books at the flea market or hitting the bargain bin at your favorite used book store (what, you never know?), and venture over to BookFinder to check out the full list of in-demand out-of-print books.

1. Sex by Madonna

A collector’s item since it was first published in 1992, Sex featured a storyline by Madonna in character as “Mistress Dita,” and graphic photographs by Steven Meisel Studio.

2. Promise Me Tomorrow by Nora Roberts

Roberts has actually requested that fans not read this 1984 novel from the earlier part of her career, claiming that “the writing didn’t shine, and the storyline isn’t a grabber.”

3. Rage by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)

When this 1977 novel — the first that King wrote under his Richard Bachman pseudonym — went out of print, the famed horror author said that it was a good thing. As King later explained to Entertainment Weekly, “Certainly in this sensitized day and age, my own college writing — including a short story called “Cain Rose Up” and the novel Rage — would have raised red flags, and I’m certain someone would have tabbed me as mentally ill because of them…”

4. My Pretty Pony by Stephen King

This short story by King was illustrated by contemporary artist Barbara Kruger and released as a limited edition book in 1989 as part of the Whitney Museum of American Art artist and writer series.

5. In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting by Ray Garton

Garton, too, was glad when his 1992 account of the Snedeker family’s encounter with the paranormal went out of print. “The family involved, which was going through some serious problems like alcoholism and drug addiction, could not keep their story straight, and I became very frustrated; it’s hard writing a non-fiction book when all the people involved are telling you different stories.”

6. Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini

Italian artist, architect, and industrial designer Luigi Serafin created this bizarre, 360-page book — which has been described as “an encyclopedia guide, only partially comprehensible, to an alien universe” — from 1976 to 1978. The original 1981 version came in two volumes, and was printed in a limited run of 5,000 copies.

7. Man in Black by Johnny Cash

This 1975 autobiography, which sold sold 1.3 million copies upon its release, served as part of the basis for Walk the Line.

8. Marilyn: A Biography by Norman Mailer

Mailer’s 1973 biography of Monroe put forth the controversial theory that she’d been killed by agents of the FBI and CIA because of her affair with Robert F. Kennedy; it sold more copies than any of his other works, outside of The Naked and the Dead.

9. Arithmetic Progress Papers by H. Henry Thomas

This educational text book is so rare that we couldn’t even find an image of the cover.

10. Mandingo by Kyle Onstott

Inspired by the 1975 film Mandingo (which, for the record, Roger Ebert despised and gave zero stars), Onstott’s novel tells the story of a slave named Mede in the antebellum South who has been trained to fight other slaves and is having an affair with his master’s wife.