Re: Out of print
Unfortunately for Gutenberg, most of my collection post-dates the 1923 cut-off date. It's been a while since I was involved but I believe Gutenberg may have one or two of mine. Perhaps now I'm shortly to be retired I can become involved again.
I wasn't complaining about my effort. The person I expect to do the work is me; why would I possibly expect a company that no longer exists to do it? Though it is irritating that the current copyright laws make it illegal in many jurisdictions to copy books a hundred years old; as you point out companies and authors are often no longer with us.
Nor do I have any complaint about the concept of copyright; I have a couple of books myself which have sold quite nicely, given their target market. I do have serious doubts about the habit of companies like Disney pushing for longer and longer copyright periods; I would have thought 25 years or the life of the original author, whichever is shorter, to be sufficient.
Amazon offer electronic versions of music CDs when you purchase the physical CD; somehow, they've never got around to doing the same for books, even recent ones where one might expect the content already to be in a digital form.