Archive the most profitable front and backlist books.
If you don’t have access to a digital workflow software system, and you haven’t yet partnered with a company that can provide a complete turn-key service, you still need to get started on the path to digitization. It can be even more simple than you think. The best and most inexpensive thing rights managers can do is become good friends with people in their own production department. Get in touch with these folks and be sure that a copy of the files for every book published are sent to you. Burn ‘em to CDs and stick ‘em in your desk. Just make sure you’re a part of their workflow. This is the easiest first step you can take to ensure you have files when you need them.
If getting files to every book published isn’t practical, do everything possible to single out titles that have been good sellers (and therefore still in print) and work with your marketing department to find out which new books have the largest order commitments. Just try to keep ahold of as many files as you can.