So, now that you know how to find the elusive “SF Book They Don’t Write Anymore” (remember, the problem for paperback fans is two-fold) what the heck can you possibly do to get it in your hands in paper form?
Come now. You know the answer to it. It just wasn’t evident until now that you have started thinking about what paperbacks really are and why they are your preferred format.
Of course, the first thing you do after finding titles and reading previews that look promising is to see if the author has the book available in print. But there are a fair share of publishers and authors who view the paperback market as a much smaller much less profitable sideline. Their books are not available in pre-packaged print.
All that means is that you will have to print the books yourself. If you can run a copy machine, you can print your e-books at home. I recommend printing on 8×11 paper, two “pages” of text per side, and to print on both sides. You can even two-hole punch the book and put it in a binder if you really want to. As long as you are paying typical independent rates for e-books and not traditional publisher rates, you can have the printed e-book for the same cost (or a little bit less) as the paperback from the publisher.
Is it more work than running to the B&N to pick up the non-existent paperback? Sure…if you are still into non-existent paperbacks, that is.
This method isn’t about replicating legacy publishing channel, it is about satisfying your two-pronged problem with current SF. It gets you the books you want, in the format you prefer.
But don’t stop there. Realize that e-books have revolutionized direct reader access to the author…and also the author’s ability to respond favorably. A simple note like this:
I was so intrigued by the first few pages of Sad Puppies in Space that I had to buy your book. I enjoyed it very much. I just wanted to make a request that you make this book available in paperback, such as through a POD service like createspace. Reading books digitally is not my preferred format, although I clearly made an exception in your case, and am happy that I did. Keep up the good work, and please let me know if you have any plans for paperbacks in the future!”
…is easy to send (hint: there is probably a live link in the ebook you just bought) and, because the request is fairly easy to implement, could happen within a few weeks of an author receiving such encouragement from a fan.
Because the truth is that ebooks have the ability to save the printed book, and even to advance it to be more suited to your tastes than ever before. But to get that to happen, it is going to take your participation. How else will all these authors know how you want to read their stories?