A few months ago, I asked my agent to see if we could get back the publishing rights to all of my books that were out of print. Instead of returning those rights to us, however, the publisher chose to turn them into "print on demand," thereby keeping to the letter of my contracts. This allows them to hold onto me, in a way that's the cheapest possible for them. But you know what? That is just fine with me, because I get what I want, too--all of those books IN PRINT and AVAILABLE to my readers. That's all I've ever wanted. Well, and royalties. :)
To say I'm delighted and grateful is an understatement.
I also have to say, however, that I have writer friends who don't approve of this kind of thing. They refuse to allow their backlists to be published as print on demand (for reasons I outline below). I don't feel that way. For years I've had to tell my readers who wanted to buy my other books that the only place to find them was in the used-book aisles or in libraries. While I was happy they could still be found at all, I thought it might be nice (snark) if I could also earn royalties from them. Now we're all happy. Readers can now get NEW books. I get paid. They're happy. I'm happy.