One downside to this idea is that a book might never be considered out-of-print, so the rights would never revert back to the author. Speaking as someone who made a few dollars putting her out-of-print backlist on the Kindle ( April's books on the Kindle), that would be a bad thing.
But here’s another downside I hadn’t realized: cost. A POD version of a traditional mass market paperback or trade paperback costs much more. As Seattle Mystery Books notes on its blog:
“We needed to reorder David Rosenfelt's Sudden Death. This was a regular 'ol mass market paperback, $7.99 from Warner. (Warner no longer exists as a publisher - it is now Hachette). But at some point, the book was switched to this POD system. What arrived was a trade paperback edition priced at $20.99 AND with a much lower discount. So now the book is far more expensive to put on the shelf and nearly impossible to sell at that price.
“Leslie Silbert's Intelligencer is a book that Fran sells (guess I should say 'sold) continually. It is a dual-time thriller, set in the past and the present, a private eye story and a bibliomystery. Since 2005 when it came out as a $14 trade paperback from Simon & Schuster, we sold 82 copies. Now it is a POD from Ingram priced at $22.99.
“We'll no longer be stocking these titles.”
Read more here.