Release Dates and Non-US authors: A Reader’s Take

kindlebooks Remember the early days of eBooks? I do. I was so excited about my Kindle. No more waiting until the books were shelved. I could just wake up on the release date and there it would be, ready to read. Except it wasn’t that way -so many of my favorite author’s books weren’t available as a digital release. Sometimes I had to wait a couple of weeks, and sometimes months. Then when that issue was resolved, I had to deal with the fact that I could buy the paper copy of the book for less than the digital copy. Now that these issues are getting taken care of for the most part, I have another request, simultaneous book release dates. Oh, I know it a pie in the sky wish right now, but surely it can be done.

Nora Robert’s The Perfect Hope is due to be released in Australia, Canada, U.K. and the U.S. all on November 6 even though she has contracts with two different publishers. For Canada, the U.K and U.S. the paper copy of the book is being released by Berkley Trade. In Australia, the paper copy is being released by Hachette. In the U.K., the digital copy is being released by Hachette Digital and Amazon Canada doesn’t have the Kindle version available yet. I agree that Nora Roberts definitely has the proven track record to justify having multiple foreign contracts and all with the same release date. Still, I can only think that if authors’ book were available worldwide at least digitally, then many would gain name recognition in countries different than their own.

Better yet, I wish that since I have an Amazon Kindle, I could go to any of Amazon’s sites and download books, or that the publishers who have the digital rights would make them available to all. I just discovered two books available on Amazon.com (the U.S. web site) by Roisin Meaney. The publisher is Hachette Books Ireland. So see it can be done. It’s just a question of navigating the rights maze.

I admit that I don’t buy many non-U.S. authors’ books but there are several that I do buy. And the ones I do buy I really like, so much so that I hate to wait for their books. Lucy Dillon, Susanna Kearsley, Jill Mansell, and Roisin Meaney are just a few that come to mind. I fell in love with Lucy Dillon with Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, In May 2013, One Hundred Pieces of Me by Ms. Dillon will be released in the U.K. Although she has had two books published by the Penguin Group here in the U.S. and one is due to be released in 2013 (one that I already ordered from the U.K.), I don’t see this one listed yet. So I plan to order it from the U.K. rather than waiting for US publication.

Susanna Kearsley has had eleven books published and for years you couldn’t buy them in the U.S. I also ordered many of her books from Canada. Luckily, thanks to Sourcebooks, they are more readily available in the USA. Although, I know I shouldn’t gripe, especially after such a long wait for The Rose Garden, but her new book The Firebird is out in May 2013 in Canada but not released in the U.S. until June. Jill Mansell’s A Walk in the Park was released in the U.K. earlier in 2012, but its U.S. release date is November. Her new release, Don’t Want to Miss a Thing will be released in the U.K. in February 2013 – and yes I will be ordering it then, especially since I don’t even see a U.S. release date either on this book.

It seems strange to me that I can eat a kiwi fruit easier than buying a book by an Australian or New Zealand author. I discovered Lisa Walker with her release of Liar Bird. And I would love to read other authors from New Zealand or Australia but I rarely seem to find their books.
I can’t complain about this without giving thanks, though. Without publishers like Sourcebooks I wouldn’t have discovered these authors at all.

Some of you are probably thinking that there are plenty of books released in the U.S., so why does it matter? Well, I am impatient. Once I discover an author whose books I love, I want to read them when they are released. Plus reading books by authors from different nations is my way of getting a view of their culture. Even if the characters’ emotions mimic mine, their daily lives are different as are the food they eat, the places they go, and the way they express themselves. For example, I have never eaten mushy peas (I can’t say that I have a burning desire to do so either), but from reading I know about the dish now. If I had never read a book by a British author then I probably wouldn’t have a clue.

There is so much potential for wider distribution out there through the digital format medium. And hopefully someday soon, consumers all over the world will have access to the same product at the same time. Do you read many authors that are from a different country? If so, what authors do you read? Are you able to easily find their books? If not, do you have them shipped to you?

– Leigh Davis

16 thoughts on “Release Dates and Non-US authors: A Reader’s Take

  1. Like Ellie, I have a Nook. There are times I have to wait three months before a book is available for the Nook due to an exclusive 3 month contract the author has signed with Amazon.

    I do find it frustrating when the ebooks are avaible only for the Kindle. An author I was reading just announced she was pulling her books off BN.com because it was more profitable to be on Kindle exclusively.

  2. I too find it infuriating that books are released on different dates in different parts of the world, both in print and in digital. When I discover an author first I want to read her backlist in order of publication, and then like you I want to read her new books the moment they’re released.

    I’m in the UK and I read review blog from different places, many from the US, and many author blogs too. I’ll get it excited when I see a book mentioned and deflated when I realise I can’t get it here. That’s particularly annoying when I’m avoiding the reviews in case they give too much away but can see a multitude of them! And it’s maddening when it’s a digital release – if it’s been digitised and is on Amazon.com, why isn’t it on Amazon.co.uk?? Unlike some people I’ve seen positing, Amazon prevents me from buying from .com.

    And another aspect of the globalisation of review and author sites but apparent non-globalisationof publishing is that there will be bargains listed in a US site or on Goodreads which aren’t replicated for English buyers – even when the publisher is the same!

    Publishers do seem to want their cake and eat it too – they expect their authors to do their own marketing using the Internet, and provide ARCs for review sites, but won’t accept that by their nature these are read worldwide and build up expectation and desire worldwide which they are not prepared to satisfy.

  3. There’s also the converse problem, as a non-US resident, of having heaps of stuff only available in the US or Amazon.com. Not fair either.

    With regards to international authors (and slightly off-topic), I find there are lots of non-US authors masquerading as American ones, for whatever reason, or who aren’t immediately apparent, mostly because a) they’ve hit the big time with a NY publisher, or b) they write for Harlequin/Mills & Boon, and therefore get distribution on either side of either ocean. In the latter category I’d put Karina Bliss and a whole other host of HQ writers. In the former:

    Canada – Donna Lea Simpson, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Balogh, Susan Lyons, Kayla Perrin, Vanessa Kelly, Julianne MacLean, Tiffany Clare, Claire Cross/Delacroix, Eve Silver/Kenin, Molly O’Keefe (yup, she’s Canuck – or now she is).

    Australia – Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, Stephanie Laurens, Elizabeth Rolls, Keri Arthur.

    New Zealand – Nalini Singh and Karina Bliss, as mentioned.

    I agree that eBooks will change that, if only because you can self publish and cross all pesky distribution rights issues that way.

    Or you could do it the E. L. James way, and write a story set in Seattle with UK PROSE. Best of both worlds, apparently.

  4. My gripe is that my digital reader is a Nook and some of my favorite authors aren’t available on Nook. Nor fair.

  5. I was surprised and delighted when Imogen Robertson’s most recent book was available for my US kindle on it’s UK release date. I’d pre-ordered but I really wasn’t sure it would show up on the day until I started reading it. Amazon still doesn’t have the print edition, not sure what the US pub date is.

    I’m still buying Shona McLean from amazon UK, and I buy Susanna Kearsley’s books from Amazon CA (thanks to the wonders of the internet). Once you add in shipping Amazon’s surprisingly cheaper than Book Depository (or was with the last few books I bought from the UK). I haven’t run into any that couldn’t be sold outside the country yet.

    • Once you add in shipping Amazon’s surprisingly cheaper than Book Depository (or was with the last few books I bought from the UK).I haven’t run into any that couldn’t be sold outside the country yet.

      I’m not seeing that books on Amazon.co.uk are cheaper with shipping. I just checked their prices and the cost is £2.99 per book and £3.99 per delivery. Plus the cost of the book.

      • Maybe it was just what and when I was buying last year. I checked both and Amazon was better at that time. (I did say it was surprising.) Point being, if you check around it’s generally not prohibitive. Of course, you’re talking to an inveterate library user here, so once I’ve decided that ‘yes, I need to buy this book,’ I’ve still got most of my book budget to work with.

        • Thanks Mrs. Fairfax. I also get tons of books from the library. And if they don’t order the ones I want, I always put in purchase suggestions, which are usually fulfilled.

  6. I buy a lot of UK and Ireland authors’ books from bookdepository.co.uk but sometimes certain authors’ books aren’t available to US customers, for whatever reason. And when I do travel to the UK, I try to buy as many physical books as I can.

  7. I have bought books from B&N and Amazon.com from the US and had them shipped here – autism books the rest I don’t worry about usually. With the “at par or higher” exchange of late, they come out about the same even with having to pay shipping.

    The kindle app on my phone is Amazon.com. Amazon.ca does not have kindle books.

    What frustrates me is the freebies – or simply cheap – on one, vs the freebies on another – like kobo and amazon. I debated getting a kindle but instead got a smart phone. Ironically, many of the books are cheaper on kobo than on amazon, yet amazon has some of the better deals – like free/cheap – books. One of the publishers is loveswept…

    http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Me-Loveswept-Contemporary-ebook/dp/B0061C1OQ0 (mine says $3.40)

    http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Ride-Me-Loveswept-Contemporary-Romance/book-Q0nu5FNJdESlI8uzitLYIQ/page1.html ($2.99 – before tax and in Cdn dollars)

    Now Amazon claims to have added in “applicable taxes” etc… but I still have never bought a book via amazon – just the free books since I still prefer to read on the kobo – so I don’t know what the difference is nor if it includes exchange or not for the dollar. But I do think, either way, you really need to shop around.

  8. I read several authors from different countries. I normally don’t mind the wait for publication. I think that is because I started reading in the sci fi genre. The authors there can feel comfortable ending a book on a cliff hanger and taking two to three years to write the sequel.

    I do think e books have the potential to change that but maybe not. I know DVD’s are different between the US and UK, so it could be digital copies of other things would be as well.

    Interesting question.

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