Book Reprints

by James Bishop

The decision to republish Durant books that are no longer in print (most notably the "History of Civilization" series) is determined by two factors: who owns the rights to publish them and whether the publisher thinks another print run would be profitable. At this time, Simon and Schuster still owns the rights to the History of Civilization series (of which "Our Oriental Heritage" is one). We have discussed with them the possibility of reprinting the series, but as of now they do not believe it will be a profitable enough enterprise to engage in. It is a business decision, nothing more. While we respect and understand the point of view of Simon and Schuster, we will continue to encourage them to reconsider.

That being said, the ancillary rights to the series are still owned by the Estate of Will Durant, such as multimedia rights. A few years back, a CDROM version of the Civilization series was released, but it has since gone out of print as well. We intend to issue a new CDROM which will not only include the entire series in text form, but will also take advantage of John's complete access to the estate's archives to include archival film and audio footage, as well as whatever else may be appropriate. At this point, the new CDROM is just in the idea stage, and it may be some time before it becomes a reality.

With regards to other Durant books that are no longer in print, I would have to check with John (Little) to confirm which titles are no longer in print, but if the publishing rights to the books have reverted back to the estate, we will likely make an effort to republish them, which may include establishing a special imprint just for that purpose.

Beyond that, there is a wealth of unpublished or esoterically published material that John is working hard to release for the aficionados of Will Durant. "The Heroes of History", Durant's final manuscript, was discovered by John in the Estate's archives and published last fall. "The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time", a collection of articles and essays by Durant that have not been published since 1932 and never in book form, was released this month. Beyond that, there are several other books already compiled from existing Durant material and are destined to be released, and we will let you know when they are to be made available. We are consistently encountering lost or esoteric writings of Durant from friends of the Durants, collectors, journals, magazines, media archives, University collections, foundations, and various social organizations. I am really stunned that the material keeps appearing, but then I remind myself that Durant was a popular and preeminent scholar who lived to the august age of 96, and that there should be no surprise that there is so much material left by his legacy.

James Bishop
Will Durant Foundation

Posted on Nov 24, 2002, 11:16 AM

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