Stackpole’s X-Wing novels out of print

UPDATE 4/12: …And not so much.

Mike Stackpole learned today that Bantam has allowed his X-Wing novels to go out of print. This is a puzzling turn of events to be sure: Though the Star Wars backlist is lengthy, the X-Wing novels have generally been good bets for folks just starting in the EU and are special favorites of many fans.

This does raise questions about the status of Bantam’s other classic EU novels. Are the X-Wing novels alone? (I can think of a few that deserve the ‘honor’ a hell of a lot more.) Is this just a temporary burp? Will they be repackaged as eBooks or in new editions (trade compilations would be nice) to support Aaron Allston’s 2012 Wraith Squadron novel? Let’s hope so.

15 Replies to “Stackpole’s X-Wing novels out of print”

  1. Definitely sad news, as somebody who bought many of these new, and looking at their impact on the EU and its readers.

    We’re looking for people’s memories of the X-Wing novels on the NJOE forums.

  2. There had better be something else planned, as suggested above, because otherwise this is such an insult to Mike Stackpole AND the legions of fans who cherish that X-Wing series (I’m one of them).

    That fat lady better take a deep breath… and soon.

  3. This stinks. Mr. Stackpole handled it very well though. I hope they’ll start printing them again. Those books are some of the bright spots in the EU.

  4. Does Bantam even have the rights to do e-books? I seem to think that Star Wars e-books only started with Del Rey’s return to the SW license. It could be that by eventually siphoning off the print copies, Bantam is angling to get something from their old license – perhaps building up demand for eventual ebooks (and the permission to do them), or a chance to come up to LucasBooks when it is time to renew the novel license and say if you switch back to us, we can re-release all these classics, like X-Wing.

    While Stackpole has been vocal about the changing nature of the book industry and the lesser need for publishers, would a publisher cut him off just to stick it to him when they could otherwise continue to make money from his books?

    “Legions of fans that cherish the X-Wing series” – sadly, most of those in that group already own all the copies of the older X-wing books they would probably buy, so there’s no need for Bantam to care about them at this point, esp. with Del Rey mining the Bantam era already for re-releases (Heir to the Empire 20th anniv. edition). And its tough to market to new fans when they don’t have the license now and all their SW books are more than a decade old. Trying to draft off of the 2012 Wraith Squadron book seems like their best option to pull a Disney video release type thing: put it in the vault for a while to build up demand then let it out in 2012 with a new cover.

  5. I just started reading the X-wing series. I’ve put it off for this long. Now that I’m reading the first book, I can’t believe I held off on starting it. And now… am I not going to be able to find the rest of the series?

  6. James: Lots of those eBook listings found the other day were Bantam stuff.

    As for sales appeal… They are often recommended and a simple jumping-on point that doesn’t require knowledge of anything more than the movies. Always a good sell.

    Sammygirl: Stores may still have copies, plus there’s the used market. I’d pick them up ASAP just to be cautious, but even out-of-print I doubt they’ll be particularly rare. (Authors don’t see royalties from used sales, though.)

  7. was just going to say what Pabawan did, isn’t it the case that Del Rey can re-print anything from the Bantam back catalogue? So if Bantam aren’t doing it, Del Rey can? Surely if anyone had first choice at releasing the HTTE 20th anniversary, it would be Bantam, and yet Del Rey are releasing it.
    Might be getting my wires crossed here, would be interesting to hear Sue Rostoni’s opinion on how this all works.

  8. Bantam and Del Rey are both imprints of Random House. I’m not sure how HttE works in, but there is new material (the annotations + short story) in that.

    Whereas the X-Wing books were just straight-up reprints. (Did they ever even redo the cover? The only Rogue Squadron one I could find in their database still says “the exciting new series!”) Pretty sure if they just went back to print as-is it would be Bantam. New editions, like a compilation, or adding short stories, could be a different thing.

    But yeah, I hope we see something from Sue.

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