Back in the late 90's I wrote a picture book which eventually was published in 2002 by a big name publishing house. The book was critically acclaimed, won an award, and went through a couple of printings, before finally going out of print around 2006.
Since then, I've tried a couple of times to get my rights back, with no luck. The deal is that the book is technically still available --print on demand. However, they only sell about 1 copy a year. I'd be glad for them to keep the rights if they would actually put the book back into print, but if it's just going to be POD, I'd like to try my luck elsewhere.
Any advice? I don't want to burn any bridges.
A little background: If your book goes out of print, you have the right to get your publishing rights back so you can place them with a publisher that will publish your book. Several years ago, however, the major publishers all started doing POD as a way of retaining rights to books that would otherwise revert to the authors.
My contract was signed prior to this becoming a standard practice --later contracts have this spelled out, but mine is before that became a thing.
I appreciate the advice about the lawyer, but part of what I'm trying to decide is how smart it is to push this issue. Nowadays I can't get a response to my emails, but at one point I had a good relationship with this publisher, which is one of the best in the business. Also, as a separate point, I don't even know how likely it is I can resell the rights. At one point I looked into getting an agent (I sold my book without one) but I couldn't find anyone interested in representing a reissue.