Number 1 at Kindle: Orphan Book Triumphs!
To my great surprise and even greater joy, I find this morning that my "Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD: A Classic Movie Fan's Guide" is the number one bestseller in two categories on Amazon's Kindle store, and the number two bestseller in the Movies & Video Reference category.
Only Michael Caine is beating me for first place. Good on you, Michael! You’re one of my favorite actors too. I watched you playing the lead in "The Holcroft Covenant" just two nights ago. You were terrific!
Getting back to "Silent Films…", this book until now has been an unwanted orphan. The publisher had no confidence in the book, the distributor refused to have it on his shelves, and of all the major bookshops only Amazon was willing to stock it. Even Barnes and Noble turned it down flat. "Who's interested in silent films and early talkies?" they all asked. And before I had a chance to reply, they answered their own question themselves: "Nobody is!"
As a matter of fact, there's so much demand there are at least five DVD suppliers who specialize in silents and another four who sell an extensive library of early talkies. (Yes, they are listed in my book). How come? Two reasons: (1) There always was a latent demand for this material, not only from collectors, but people like myself who really enjoy silent movies and early talkies; and (2) an even more important reason for the sudden commercial interest in this category is simply the fact that copyright has expired. All this material is public domain. If you can lay on your hands on a decent print of a so-called "lost" movie with a major star like Rudolph Valentino or Clara Bow or Douglas Fairbanks or Louise Brooks or Lon Chaney or Mary Pickford or Janet Gaynor or Lillian Gish or William S. Hart, you can sell at least 1,000 DVDs at $30 a disc, and you don’t have to share with any pesky rights owners.
Silent Films and Early Talkies are booming on the DVD market. But in the book trade, only the knowledgeable and on-the-ball management at Amazon are seemingly aware of this fact.