Don't get me wrong, I am always glad that some copy, somewhere, has managed to find itself a home - and the upside of the email in question was that the guy who wrote it called the story "Excellent" - but the fact that he bought a second-hand copy of a version which isn't counted in the sales figures means (1) that I don't get ANY royalties from this sale, and (2) that my sales figures don't reflect this sale, which impacts on my NEXT book.
The hardcover edition of the book is technically out of print, that is true - but the paperback is still out there, or at the very least available through Amazon, a fact easily verified by typing the title into the search box. There may well be good and solid reasons that any given person might have for not shopping through Amazon (but there's other places, like Powell's for instance...) or online at all, but I am a little put out that the book was apparently simply not available in Tennessee, where this fellow is from, bin EITHER edition.
I haven't seen the latest royalty statement, but if this is not an isolated situation, and I have no reason to suspect that it is, then I probably don't have much to look forward to. I mean, I KNOW there won't be actual royalties in the form of a check - the book needs to sell a heap more copies than it has so far for THAT happy situation to eventuate - but the point is that it isn't GOING to sell any amount of copies, not if people don't even know it exists.
I don't suppose that I could float a general request that anyone who's reading this and has actually read the book tells at least one other person about it in a manner that makes said other person go out and get their own copy...? At least until they are still technically available, and don't get remaindered because nobody's buying them...? (but how could anyone buy them if they weren't being sold?... AARGH.... my brain hurts...)