My contention is that many writers are also enthusiastic readers and it is a bit of a shocker when you discover that some of your favorite books of all time, the ones that may even have shaped who you are, have simply ... disappeared.
As a child, I adored the books of Ronald Welch about the fictitious Carey family - 'Escape from France', 'Captain of the Dragoons', 'Bowman of Crecy' - but where are they now? Most of them aren't even listed on Amazon, and my nephew inherited my copies at some time or other, adored them also, and subsequently lost them.
Then there was John Fuller's 'Flying to Nowhere', a book about a medieval character searching for the seat of the soul in the pineal gland, from memory. Well, my copy of that one has flown to nowhere too. I should have been more careful.
However, I have had some luck of late. 'Until the Twelfth of Never' by Bella Stumbo has to be one of the definitive true crime books of our time. Bella Stumbo died in 2002 and that too disappeared. Fortunately, being a publisher as well as an author, there was something we could do about it. We contacted Bella Stumbo's family, tracked down the copyright owner, and recently republished it. Actually, we didn't care who published it, so long as somebody did, but that the honor should fall to us to resurrect the equivalent of a lost Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece ... you can imagine the pleasure.
And now Robert Serling's books. 'The President's Plane is Missing' was an iconic bestseller, but Robert Serling died, and the book disappeared along with the President's plane. So, bloated with the success of our 'Until the Twelfth of Never' coup, we contacted Robert Serling's family, and we will be republishing it shortly. The book itself is superb but, originally published in 1967, it is horribly out-of-date. No matter, we are updating it and the 2013 edition will be out later this year, to be followed by 'Airforce One is Haunted'. 'Something's Alive on the Titanic' doesn't need updating, so we will be republishing it within a month or so (hours of scanning pleasure in that one), and there is a Robert Serling book that he completed shortly before he died which has never been published.
Having mostly specialized in bringing new authors to the attention of the world, it is perhaps rather contrarian of us to wish to raise the works of famous old authors from the dead, but there you go, something old, something new.
And if anyone happens to know John Fuller's family, or Ronald Welch's, we would love to republish their books. There are even some advantages to dealing with dead authors, I can tell you. Dead authors don't send you e-mails because they are bored, and indeed tend to be laid back about almost everything.