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I checked out a paperback from the library about home owner associations. When I went back for another book on the subject, I found it to be the same book, but a different cover and different publisher.

Under what conditions can writers get their work republished or rereleased? How or why would a publisher publish a work that's out of print?

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    The book could also be published by two different publisher at the same time in different regions. e.g. the US vs the rest of the (English-reading) world (often British published). Continued or renewed demand is probably the obvious reason for republishing. Novels can often get a reprint (with a new cover) if there's a movie-adaptation that's expected to drive demand.
    – user54131
    Jul 12, 2022 at 16:49

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In one word, sales.

A publisher will republish a book when it thinks there is a renewed or continued demand for it. A new cover will be used when it seems likely to stimulate additional sales, or when the publisher does not have the right to re-use the former cover image. (In some cases the publisher buys the rights to a cover image for only a single edition, in other cases for all time.)

An author can ask for a new edition, but will not get it unless the publisher concludes that profits are likely, one way or another. (Unless the work is self-published or put out by a vanity press.)

In many cases an author's contract with a publisher provides that if the book is out of print (which the usual contract provision will carefully define, often less than X copies sold over a period of Y months), then the author may cancel the contract, reclaim the rights, and go to another publisher or self-publish.

And as was mentioned in the comments, there may be different editions in different parts of the world at the same time.

For example, I own at least three different editions of Andre Norton's The Time Traders. I own two different editions of APL, An Interactive Approach by Gilman and Rose, a text on programming. In that case, one is a revised edition, another reason for reprinting.

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  • Additionally, public domain books are anyone's to publish.
    – Mary
    Jul 12, 2022 at 21:57
  • @Mary that is true, but a book needs to be significantly old before one can be confident that it is in the public domain. 95 years in the US for books published before 1978. Books (and other works) can go into the PD sooner for various reasons, such as failure to renew (before 1964) or publication without a copyright notice (before 1989), but it takes some research to confirm that. In any case, even a PF book is unlikely to be reprinted unless someone thinks it likely to be profitable. Jul 12, 2022 at 22:16

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