US editions vs. UK editions
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I put this here because I read a lot of British detective/mystery/crime books. I purchased a copy of one of Ian Rankin's books (in the Rebus series) and he mentions that he was told to add an extra chapter to the American edition but he didn't think that it added to the book at all. Do authors have any say in this matter?
For all I know, most of the members of this group live in the UK and don't have this problem but I thought I would post here and see what happened.
I don't think it renders a book unreadable, but I see no reason for the change. And it's purposeless nuisances that I find unacceptable.
So, as I said, I order through amazon.co.uk or sometimes, if I can find them, through amazon.com marketplace. But I haven't found any place where I don't have to order through Amazon (which is a pain because they can't give bulk shipping discounts through the marketplace). Turning the question around, do you have any other leads? Do you know of any retailers that do not limit their sales to purchases through Amazon?
Okay, perhaps saying that it rendered the book unreadable was going a bit far. I am like you in that I can see no reason for the change. Maybe that really is what makes me mad.
As for your question, sadly, no. I don't have any real leads. Every retailer I've worked with thus far has been through Amazon (US) Marketplace or I just break down and buy from Amazon UK.
You could try http://www.onlinebooksdirect.co.uk/ which is a sort of metasearch engine for non-Amazon online booksellers in the UK. There's a list of book search engines on http://www.2nd-hand-books.co.uk/d_bases.html . Or try going to the UK publisher's website.
#4 thorold - that sounds lovely to have both the UK and the US edition available. I suppose here, in my small US town, they would tell me that there isn't enough interest or space for such a thing. I'll look at the sites you mentioned. Thanks.
#5 quartzite - I've read so many British editions of books that sometimes I forget how to spell things in "American." I mean to say, I can't remember which way I should spell something. Then I get accused of putting on airs or trying to be English. :)
It isn't just the fact that some place is a "small town" and that there isn't enough interest or space. Literary distribution and printing contracts are mostly negotiated by region--that is a certain publisher is contract-bound to not distribute the book outside a certain set area. There are exceptions, where "territory" could be language-bound or where no other publishing rights are negotiated and the original publisher simply works export contracts to foreign bookstores. And I'm sure there are other exceptions. But, for the most part, the UK publisher of the book cannot supply the book to bookstores here in the states if there is another contract giving the US publisher exclusive distribution rights. (In fact, even if the contract has not been worked out yet in the US, the UK company's publishing contract probably limits the region to the UK in anticipation of the US deal).
If you order from the UK, the sale is in England and then shipped here, so I believe that the rights of the US company have not been infringed upon. Also, there are some exceptions for used books being sold at minor and major bookstores and for new books being sold by individuals (not distributed by the UK publisher but instead through places like Amazon marketplace).
As thorold says, in Holland, he has access to both copies. I don't know the specifics, but I think that it has something to do with the EU laws, in that if something is marketed in one country it can be marketed in the others. (Is that right, thorold?)
Now, why the US publisher needs to "translate" the british english in the first place is beyond me. . . .
So, if you are looking for a major bookstore that sells foreign editions of books that have american editions, you probably won't find it. I've been trying to find other marketplaces like Amazon marketplace that might be cheaper, but not much luck so far.
I love Peter Lovesey's books. Picked up one of his early books to continue reading a particular series - the book had two different titles but that actually didn't indicate area of publication (one region did use one or the other title at first and the other region used the other title; but over time both used both titles - I'm confusing myself and will move on). I started reading the book . . . and then stopped. I couldn't understand what was going on, what was being said. Why? Because it was the British edition of the book. All those books I had read by Lovesey, and loved, and I couldn't read one of his books because it was still in British.
So . . . I admit it. I love British books, but sometimes, like Swedish books, or German, or . . . I need it in American English to understand it. This does not mean that I automatically understand Texan, New England (if written as it sounds), Californian surfer dude or the like just because they are variations of American English.
I love "untranslated" British television shows, spent some time in England, and have read many British authors but still had trouble with a book written in British.
I thought it was just small changes in the actual language, but if it makes that much of a change, then, yes, I see why it is necessary. And if it's the difference between me having phrases jump out at me as being out of place in the setting and momentarily jar me vs. someone else being unable to understand and enjoy the book as a whole, then I not only see why it is necessary to translate but also support the translation.
I'm more just griping because I have to pay shipping and import costs to soothe my hyperactive criticism. ;) Plus, I was hoping someone here had a suggestion of an easier way to do it.
Wow, I've never noticed that there were that great changes in the different edition, I always thought, like christiguc, that it was mainly spelling. I don't read much american crime so I can't really tell if I find american hard to understand but I'm really interested in what sort of things you found not understandable. Are there any examples you could give?
No shipping charges. :)
Several UK publishers have long-standing distribution arrangements here: practically every bookshop has a shelf or two of Penguins, for instance. But before the days of Amazon the importers made them charge a hefty markup over the UK cover price, so it was worthwhile (and apparently legal) for specialist English-language booksellers to import direct from the US and undercut them. The rip-off prices are less blatant these days, of course, but the American bookshop is still in business, so there must be a demand for US editions. Their customers certainly aren't all North American expats.
Oh right, thanks. Yeah, I can well imagine that attempted dialect is confusing. I've had real difficulties with some guy trying to be scottish, couldn't understand a word.
One recently which won a Ned Kelly Award for best first novel (Ned Kellys are Australia's crime writing awards). The book was called Diamond Dove which is a bird native to outback Australia which is the setting for the book. The title was changed to Moonlight Downs. The Australian cover had a representation of the bird on the. However, the US edition the bird looks like an eagle. When the author complained, he was told that the cover is for the readers not the writer.
Changing the subject slightly, I notice some US publishers don`t have any arrangement for a specifically UK edition, they simply ship copies of the US edition over here, it seems. Don`t know why, perhaps they prefer to deal directly with a distributor.
Speaking from the collectible first edition marketplace, I think economics are responsible for the lack of interest in US titles .
UK firms publish fewer hardcovers than do their American cousins. Much fewer, in fact.
As with anything else, scarcity determines price and the internet has flattened and compressed the bookworld such that, if there are 200 collectible copies of a particular title, and they are all listed on one web site, it seems as though the market is flooded. That is a tough world in which to compete, and so you'll often see prices artificially depressed to as little as one dollar.
So if the first printing is 50,000 copies or more - as is the case with a lot of highly promoted US titles - there will not be a profitable secondary market for that title for the next 20 years or so.
On the other hand, a hardcover first printing of 2,000 - 1,000 of which will probably go to libraries - creates an immediate scarcity and promises a return on investment within a couple of years at most, assuming the story and author are worthwhile.
That is why I buy all my British fiction from http://www.bookdepository.co.uk All the titles are sold at discount and the shipping is free to anywhere in the world. By limiting my purchases to first printings of first novels or fiction collections, I am building value that is impossible to match in the American marketplace.
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