HBO's revival of Michael Crichton's science fiction thriller Westworld was one of the best things on TV in 2016. The series, about a Western-themed amusement park populated by robots, also turned a humble paperback, published in 1974, into the most searched for out-of-print book of the year.
Crichton - author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain - wrote the original script for Westworld, which was released as a movie in November 1973 with Yul Brynner in the lead role as a black-clad robot gunman.
A companion book was published in 1974 by Bantam/Pocket Books but it's utterly out-of-print. The book contains the movie script, an introduction from Crichton, and photographs from the film. It is not a novelisation of the Westworld story. We suspect that science fiction fans are looking for this book with the expectation that it's a novel. In reality, it's a little piece of 1970s movie history.
According to BookFinder.com's annual report, there were more searches for Westworld than any other out-of-print book in 2016, beating even Madonna and her famous Sex book. Prices for Westworld begin at £135 with only a handful of copies available. Once the series aired, AbeBooks sold copies of Westworld at prices up to £352.
The 10-part series premiered on October 2 and concluded on December 4. Crichton died in 2008 so any novelisation of Westworld will need to come from somebody else if it happens.
One book that just failed to make the top 30 is Bare by George Michael. The former Wham singer died on Christmas Day in 2016 and since then there has been massive interest in this out-of-print autobiography from 1991.
Top 30 Most Searched For Out of Print Books in 2016
1. Westworld by Michael Crichton Millions tuned in to watch the 2016 reboot of Crichton's story of amusement park shenanigans and thousands wanted to read more. This is the companion book published after the release of the 1973 movie - there is no novelisation of the Westworld story.
2. Sex by Madonna Published in 1992, Sex is never going to be republished. It's rude but harmless. Madonna flaunts herself across a multitude of erotic scenarios. Sex has sturdy aluminum covers which makes it rather durable, and also means that this book won't rust.
3. Permaculture: A Designers' Manual by Bill Mollison Permaculture is agriculture that works in harmony with ecosystems. Sustainable farming in other words. Surely, there's a market for this book?
4. Unintended Consequences by John Ross A thinly disguised novel promoting gun culture and gun rights that includes fictionalised accounts of historical events.
5. Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman Crafting books often don't stay in print for long. This one from 1993 was published by the American Quilters Society. Brackman is a quilting historian.
6. Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh Walsh, famous as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, outlines his coaching systems and philosophies. Very hard to find now. Walsh died in 2007.
7. Mastering Atmosphere & Mood in Watercolor by Joseph Zbukvic Zbukvic argues that artists need to use watercolor clocks. A "clock" accompanies every visual example, helping artists anticipate how the condition of the paper will react to various watercolor mixes.
8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe Crowe's 1981 coming-of-age book became a film in 1982 starring Sean Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh. This book is a collector's item and often carries three-figure price-tags. Fantastic cheerleader cover.
11. Rage by Richard Bachman/Stephen King This novel is a perennial on the BookFinder.com out-of-print list. It describes a school shooting and King will never bring it back into print for obvious reasons.
13. Sled Driver: Flying the World's Fastest Jet by Brian Shul USAF pilot Shul fought in Vietnam, where he flew 212 combat missions. He was shot down and so badly burned that he was expected to die. He returned to full flight status and retired as a major.
20. Down Through the Years by Jean Shepard Shepard, who died in September 2016, was a pioneer for women in country music. The singer-songwriter recorded 24 albums. At the time of her death, she was the longest-running living member of the Grand Ole Opry.
22. Me and My Likker by Popcorn Sutton Amazing story - no copies available. Buy one if you see it. Popcorn Sutton is a moonshine distiller and a living legend in the mountains of Tennessee. Colourful, obscene - his story in his language.
23. Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer A 1963 western novel that was made into a film in 1970 starring Lee Marvin. Schaefer's debut novel was Shane, which became a memorable Alan Ladd movie in 1953.
25. The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield & Gene Roddenberry The complete history of the original TV series from conception, design and scripting to how the finished product was produced and sold. Handsome William Shatner, emotionless Leonard Nimoy, young George Takei and the first interracial kiss on US TV.
26. The Last Course: The Desserts of the Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming A cookbook. Fleming rose to prominence as the pastry chef at the Gramercy Tavern in New York. You can now enjoy her desserts at The North Fork Table & Inn, one of Long Island's finest restaurants.
27. A Life Worth Living by Lady Colin Campbell A memoir about being an aristocrat with a big twist. Lady Colin Campbell was born with mixed gender and later had surgery to become wholly female. A remarkable story.
29. Women and Men by Joseph McElroy A big 1,192-page novel that is challenging to read. The plot, which is about families (we think), jumps around in time and features a 'McGuffin'.
30. The Art of Holly Hobbie by Holly Hobbie Holly Hobbie is an American writer and illustrator, and the name of a fictional character. That character is a little girl who loves cats and wears a patchwork dress. Millions of young girls have enjoyed the Holly Hobbie books, toys, TV series, and movie.