As folks paying attention to my rants no doubt recall, this is hardly an isolated incident, as I have bitched at length at the INSANE prices a lot of out-of-print books are commanding. Given the simplicity of print-on-demand publishing these days, this should not be the case.
Back in my Eschaton days, I was very much wanting to put out a new edition of just such a book (Allegro's The Scared Mushroom and the Cross), but couldn't figure out where to start with getting "rights" to do so. I'm allergic to Lawyers, in general (so I'm probably not the best person to be spearheading this sort of project), but one would think it would be reasonably plausible that one could get a "by the copy" reprint deal done for some of these books. I mean, really ... all it would take would be to scan to a file, upload to somebody like LuLu.com, and have it available from the site ... how hard would it be to get an "equitable distribution" of whatever mark-up was involved over the printing costs?
Of course, anything that has to involve Lawyers gets fucked up and quickly ceases to be simple, so maybe this is a total pipe dream. It just bugs the heck out of me when somebody is getting away charging over $50 for a 384-page mass-market paperback!