Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2011 Issue

BookFinder Lists The Top 100 Most Sought After Out-of-Print Books

Madsex11

Madonna is also a famous singer.

BookFinder.com has released its annual report of the top 100 most sought after books on its book metasearch site. As a metasearch site, BookFinder searches multiple listing sites, such as AbeBooks, Alibris, and Amazon, and aggregates their results. What type of books do people generally search BookFinder for? Not new ones, as these are primarily old book sites. Nor are people likely to go to an aggregator to find what is common. The books on this list are likely to combine desirability with difficulty to find, which leads people to a search engine that searches many sites at once.

That said, we will proceed to the list of the most sought after hard-to-find, out-of-print books. Many of these are truly niche publications, the type of books not likely to have been printed in large numbers, but highly desirable to a select few. For example, at the end of the list, #100 is the fascinating sounding Basic Building Data: 10,000 Timeless Construction Facts. Try reading that cover to cover. Then there is #88, VLF Radio Engineering. Do you know what VLF radio is? I do, but only because I looked it up - very low frequency. It is used for communication with submarines that are near the surface. #87 is the ever-popular Chemical and Determinative Tables of Mineralogy. I won't even attempt to explain that.

Some books sound very weighty, such as #63, War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495-1975. Others are light and fluffy, such as #58, Pancakes A to Z. Pogo, the comic strip best noted for the quote, "we have met the enemy and he is us," has been out of syndication for 35 years, but evidently the swamp possum still has his fans as #41 is I Go Pogo. Carl Sagan has been gone fifteen years (hard to believe), but he too remains popular, with #15 being his Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record.

Now, we go to the most sought after of all, the BookFinder Top Ten.

10. Mandingo, by Kyle Onstott. This 1950s novel about sex, violence and exploitation in the slaveholding, antebellum South would become a successful exploitation film in the 1970s.

9. Arithmetic Progress Papers, by H. Henry Thomas. Can't find much about this one, other than Thomas was an Englishman who wrote several "Progress Reports" going back to the 1950s. If anyone knows why this one is desirable, please post it at the end of this article.

8. Marilyn: A Biography, by Norman Mailer. Fifty years later and still all we need is her first name to know who this is.

7. Man in Black, by Johnny Cash. This one is rising up the charts with a bullet, all the way from #100 last year, as well it should for this legendary country singer.

6. Codex Seraphinianus, by Luigi Serafini. This is a creative though strange work, a "serious" illustrated book about a fantasy world written in an internally correct but incomprehensible tongue.

5. In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, by Ray Garton. This "true" story is also true fantasy, but author Garton was obliged to treat this account relayed to him by residents of a "haunted" house as if it were real, though not even he believed it.

4. My Pretty Pony, by Stephen King. This is a short story published in a relatively small number for something by the immensely popular King.

3. Rage, by Richard Bachman. No, this is not Michele's husband. Stephen King, by any name, is very popular. Bachman was an early pseudonym used by King.

2. Promise Me Tomorrow, by Nora Roberts. This one is apparently so bad that not even the prolific Roberts likes it, so she has refused to let it be reprinted. So, as if there aren't enough other Roberts books to choose from, everyone wants this one.

1. Sex, by Madonna. What always sells? Year after year, this 1992 limited edition pictorial essay of the pop songstress in varying stages of undress tops the list. She may not be on the top of the Billboard charts any more, but Madonna continues to rule the BookFinder top 100.

To see the entire BookFinder 100, click here. 


Posted On: 2012-03-29 00:00
User Name: LCT1963

My grandfather, HH Thomas wrote several Progress Papers including the Arithmetic Progress Papers. I am intrigued to know why they are so sought aft


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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