Why You Can’t Get My Book in [Insert Country Here]

Whenever I announce a book, I get grousing from people who can’t legally buy or access that book, mostly because it’s not available in whatever country they are in. To explain the details of this, and to give myself a document to which I may refer people when it comes up again, allow me to explain now how this all works.

I live in [insert country here]. Why won’t your publisher let me buy the book here?

Probably because legally, “my publisher” can’t.

First, be aware that “my publisher,” changes from country to country, and that even in the United States I have more than one publisher. In the United States, books of mine still in print are published by Tor, by Subterranean Press, by Rough Guides (a division of Penguin), and by Portable Press. Worldwide, I have over twenty publishers, each focused on one territory and/or language.

When most people think of “my publisher,” they’re thinking of Tor. Well, generally speaking, when Tor buys a book from me, what it’s buying is a license to publish the book, in English, in the US and Canada. I usually retain the rights to sell the book in the rest of the world, including in English in the UK and Commonwealth countries (excluding Canada). Tor doesn’t typically have the right to sell the book, in any form, anywhere else on the planet. So they quite naturally don’t. There are ways to get around this, even without pirating the book, but Tor itself quite naturally sticks to its contract to avoid a) voiding the contract, b) pissing me off.

(Note: See the update below, where my Tor editor makes a correction to the above struck-through assertion.)

Why don’t you let your publisher sell the book in [insert country here]?

Because I want to generate as much money as possible from my writing, since this is how I make my living. Typically speaking I make more money by piecing out the rights to various publishers than I would make letting one publisher sell the books in every territory, both because that second publisher will offer me advance money (which usually is a good deal for the writer) and because that second publisher is better tuned into its own market and will make a better case for the book with the local readership.

It’s not to say I won’t sell further rights to the same publisher if I think it there’s good reason to do so, but at the very least it makes sense to try to sell local rights first.

Your publisher has the right to sell the book in [insert country here]. Why won’t it?

You’d have to ask them. If I had to guess I would expect it’s that often selling a work in a new country — and/or through a distribution arm specific to that country — is more work on the back end than people expect and the publisher has to ask whether it will be worth the time/effort/money to do so. Yes, that sucks. Sorry about that.

You could just put up an electronic version on your site and then I could buy it, even though I live in [insert country here].

Actually, I probably can’t; most of the publishers I work with now take electronic publishing rights in their territories/languages as a matter of course. Even if I could, that would require me to make my own e-versions of the books, which I’m not particularly good at nor have much interest in investing my time/energy. I wouldn’t want to put out an e-version if it’s not at least as good and usable as a professionally published version.

By not making your book available in [insert country here] you are driving to me to possibly illegal measures that will profit you nothing!

Well, no. You might be using it as an excuse, but that’s an entirely different thing. As noted there are ways to work around these things in ways that do not deprive me of royalties. I would prefer you do that, obviously.

That said, if the vagaries of the publishing industry conspire to convince you to do something drastic, here’s what to do: When it becomes possible for you to buy the book in [insert country here], please do so, and then we’re square. If you can’t do that for some unfathomable reason, then take the amount that it would have cost you to buy the book and donate it to a local literacy charity, or to your local library. That would be fine by me.

None of this is to say that I don’t sympathize with your plight, my dear friend in [insert country here] — there are books and other such things I want, not in the US, and I get frustrated when I can’t get them in an easy and convenient manner. I feel your pain. Until we are all one big happy planet together, this is the way these things work.

Update, 6/8/11: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my editor at Tor, writes in to tell me I’m wrong about Tor not being able to sell the book elsewhere in the world aside from the US/Canada:

Leaving aside the fact that our standard North American contract also gives us those all-important Philippines rights (an artifact of long-ago imperial possession), there’s also the phrase “and the same rights, but non-exclusively, in the Open Market, i.e., the rest of the world, except for the territories listed on the Schedule of Excluded Territory attached as Exhibuit A.” What this means is that we can sell our English-language edition all over the world except in a bunch of countries that were once part of the British Empire; for instance, we can sell our English-language edition all over Europe, in Japan, in almost all of  North and South America, etc. The only catch, for us, is that we don’t have an exclusive license to sell in those territories; if you sell the same book to a London-based publisher, chances are that their deal will give them the same non-exclusive access to those countries.

Since English is the third most widely-spoken language in the world, it will not surprise you to hear that books in English are sold everywhere. Some English-language books sell very well in parts of the world that are neither the US-and-Canada nor the former British Empire. In the Netherlands, for instance, where English is spoken by practically everyone except for very young children and older rural people, many retail bookstores routinely interfile English-language books from both the UK and the US in amidst books published in Dutch. I have seen our editions of your books for sale in bookstores in Amsterdam and Utrecht–and, for that matter, in Japan’s Narita Airport and in the central train station in Rome. I would hate for anyone who read your post to think that we were breaking the law or disrespecting our contract with you when they come upon such instances of your books’ availability.

There you go, then.

54 Comments on “Why You Can’t Get My Book in [Insert Country Here]”

  1. I wasn’t so much grousing but more resigned.

    I’ve got quite a few friends accross the whole globe and whenever they link me to youtube or netflix or such, I have a 60-30 chance that I’ll get a “this content isn’t availiable in your country” screen. I’m used to it.

    Still annoying, though. :P

    But thank you for your explanation.

  2. I would imagine that one of the growing areas of frustration is e-books more often than not have different geographical limitations that printed versions. An e-book version is often desirable for many reasons, not only the I-wannit-NOW mentality, and if there’s a book a can order in its physical form from Amazon.uk (and I have yet to see a physical book that my US address prevents me from ordering through that source), to see that there is a Kindle version that CANNOT be ordered seems perverse.

  3. Out of curiosity, are there particular countries that have been problematic to get your books made available in?

  4. On a side note, I’m using John’s digital method. While playing catch with my country of residence’s random blockings, i sometimes find myself in very different countries in very little time. It confuses the hell out of Amazon, which periodically catches up by asking me to please move my account to the country where I live. They even asked me to send a copy of my passport once … though I’ve yet to decide if that one was a fake or a genuine, if misguided, attempt at checking where I lived … Needless to say I didn’t answer (and the book is still in my kindle account)

  5. When it becomes possible for you to buy the book in [insert country here], please do so, and then we’re square. If you can’t do that for some unfathomable reason, then take the amount that it would have cost you to buy the book and donate it to a local literacy charity, or to your local library.

    In the respective worlds in which we are each to be God and King and Law, I suspect that intellectual property rights will pan out in very different ways. Nevertheless, these are the words of a mensch, and I shall consider myself bound by them with regard to everything that comes from your pen.

    Also, I know some people who live in territories where this is much more likely to be an issue, and I shall pass this intelligence on to them wherever it seems applicable.

  6. I get the whole idea of making more money by selling local rights first and all that. What I really don’t understand is the whole e-book deal. I happen to love Australian authors, but there are many books that I can’t get unless I were to order them directly from Australia and have them shipped (which costs just as much as the book itself). There are e-books available from websites/ businesses in Australia, but again, i can’t buy them even though the profit would go to the business in that country. Why? I researched it and found out that an e-book sale is recorded in the country it’s downloaded in rather than the country where it originated from. It still makes very little sense to me, and it’s very depressing.

  7. Thanks for the explanation, and I am very much with #3. And I certainly won’t take any illegal action! Instead, I will practice the much underrated virtue of patience…

  8. I am sorry, but I am still confused and your explaination doesn’t seem to completely apply where I live in New Zealand. It seems the book stores I buy from here get books from both US and UK publishers. In some case both US & UK editions of the same book have appeared on shelves side by side – and they seem to be on the shelves very soon after their US publication date. (Note – this mostly applies to mass-market paperbacks).

    I am not complaining about this mind you, just confused. Could it be that New Zealand market is too small to be considered a “country”?

    I do note that I have issues buying e-books. If I use my home e-mail address with a .nz suffix, I cannot seem them. If I use my work e-mail with a .com suffix I can.

  9. StephenT — in my experience, Aus/NZ rights are usually sold together, and (I think I have this right) all books that don’t originate with an Australian/NZ publisher are subject to a pretty hefty import tax, which gets passed on to the reader, of course. But booksellers can and do import books from the US and UK. Or both, apparently.

    A publisher generally buys from the author the right to sell the “work” (book or series of books) in (a) a given geographical area (US only, North America, US and UK, World) in (b) a given language or languages (English Language only and All Languages are the most common, at least for the books I work on), in (c) a given form (hardcover only; hardcover and paperback; hardcover, paperback and ebook; or that old favorite All Forms in All Media.) If the author does not explicitly grant the right to the publisher, they remain with the author. So a US or UK based publisher who has world rights in the English language for a book can sell to the Aus/NZ market, but if they do not have a local office/presence I believe they are still subject to the import tax.

    Sometimes one publisher will publish in the US and one in the UK with the rest of the English speaking world designated as common market (both can sell there.) That may be why you are seeing two different editions on the same shelf.

  10. Fantastic! This is about what I expected you to say, in the matter-of-factly acerbic manner I expect from Whatever.

  11. Stephen T. – some of the genre bookshops in here in Sydney get both editions of books (US and UK) and have them side-by-side on the shelf. Technically I don’t think they’re allowed to do this. I recall years ago an author doing a signing in a bookshop chaperoned by the local publisher rep. Minutes before the author and publisher arrived the shop staff were hurriedly hiding the US editions of that author’s books. Ludicrous.

    For Aussies wanting hard copies of books not available in the edition you want or not available at all or just too damned expensive try book.com.au. It checks all the major on-line bookshops (inc. Australian) for the best price including shipping cost. All prices in Aussie dollars.

  12. It is amazing and a shame that buying a legitimate eBook can be harder than piracy. I am a big fan of UK scifi and in order to get a number of eBook versions my iPad has had to “travel” there. I am fine with the pain to get the books becuse I want authors to keep writing …. no pay means no authors …… however judging by the amount of pirated ebooks out there many people prefer to avoid the hassle along with the paying.

  13. Thanks “publishing person” and “shane” – FYI one local bookshop in Christchurch that stocks both UK and US versions is my local Borders. A couple of year ago now I purchased the UK TOR Mass Market paperback of “Last Colony” along with US TOR Mass market Paperback of “Ghost Brigades” on the same visit. I thought it was odd at the time. I know historically the NZ market was primarily serviced by UK, but now it seems much less restrictive – which is all good – until you get to the e-book world!

  14. First I’d like to thank John for writing me a post after I complained about having to use VPN in order to get his latest ebook from Amazon. You did write this post entirely because of me, didn’t you?
    Second, to answer JP (#6), and as mentioned by several others, Australia suffers from this whole regionalization in particular. It’s not just ebooks: I wanted to get a David Gilmour Blu-ray but it’s unavailable in Australia; Amazon USA sells it for $25 but it won’t fit my player’s region, while Amazon UK sells it for around $70. I understand John’s explanations and I appreciate him needing to make a living, but I still hate being toyed with.
    With books, Australia has a law stating that if a local publisher wants to release a book they are always preferred over imports. This means a lot of stuff is delayed here, and also means we get the privilege of paying higher prices. Even when an ebook is available for sale in Australia, we often have to pay more. For example, Ranger’s Apprentice (a YA series) sells at Amazon for less when I pose as an American via VPN than when I’m an Aussie. And that series was written by an Aussie!
    I also fail to understand why some countries face these problems while others are totally exempt. Israeli friends of mine get to buy whatever ebooks they feel like for their Kindle, while I have to mess around with VPNs. Does that mean that John sells Tor the rights to publish in the USA, Canada and Israel but forgets everyone else, or does it mean that smaller countries are exempted from laws that don’t make sense as long as someone gets paid?
    I understand the whole charade as per John’s illuminating explanations. But if all it takes to get around things is a VPN service then what is the point? Effectively, we are punishing those who are less technology inclined. Either that or we’re pushing people towards piracy.

  15. I’m one of those whiny people in [insert country here], LOL.

    I too can understand the whole publishing deals/business.

    @#20: I’m from The Netherlands, one of the smaller countries in the world, I can’t buy ‘Fuzzy Nation’ at the moment
    in Kindle format while people a few miles away (Great Britain) CAN.
    I can however buy the hardcover in both amazon.com AND amazon.co.uk.
    Amazon won’t sell the ebook to continental Europe (at the moment).
    I won’t resort to illegal means, I respect people who create and want them to earn their living that way.
    That means waiting… sigh… LOL

    I suspect / am rather sure that pestering mr. Scalzi won’t be the solution, I wish Amazon would listen though.
    They don’t seem to really react to questions/complaints about this situation (but this is neither the place nor the time).

    wrt VPN: I would be scared that my books would all of a sudden disappear when Amazon plugs that hole.

    However: I thank mr. Scalzi for letting me vent. Phew

  16. As a UK person I find it very odd that Amazon will cheerfully post me books (to my UK postal address!) in violation of the region restrictions, but not sell be ebooks unless I take steps to pretend my computer is in the USA.

  17. The most interesting thing:

    There are ways and possibilities to (legally) get a paper-book no matter where it actually is sold – I’ve had a little private bookstore import books from the USA for me once, so that is possible. And frankly, amazon itself doesn’t seem to care if I shop on the US page, the UK page, the German one or the french one – as long as I’m shopping paper books.

    But you can’t do that with ebooks, which are supposed to be much easier to handle.

    Could it be because, well, the import of paper books is usually handled by the general import / cross-border selling laws of country X, whereas digital imports are kinda unheard of and without legal backing?

  18. #22 EXACTLY!

    I understand all the rights thing. Well, no, but I understand that under the current framework the author gets money by selling the rights to publish on different regions.

    But when I want to get a shiny new book and my options are:

    – Monkeying around with VPN and fake addresses and who knows what else to download a file, because I’m a Spaniard and hey, we cant sell you this.
    – Pay amazon.co.uk or play.com to deliver a bunch of paper from the UK to Spain (no cost! Take that externality of CO2 emissions!), they care squat about where the hell I’m from

    Well… something is not working.

  19. publishing person @14 (I think I have this right) all books that don’t originate with an Australian/NZ publisher are subject to a pretty hefty import tax, which gets passed on to the reader, of course.

    Not quite right. Businesses that sell books in Aus/NZ need to collect Goods & Services Tax from customers (10% in Aus??, 15% in NZ). If _you_ import _a_ book (or anything else less than a few hundred bucks) it will very likely fall below the amount of tax due that Customs bothers to collect on a package. Note the impact of a supplier that sends a multi-book order in multiple packages (Book Depository vs Amazon).

  20. Shane@16:

    some of the genre bookshops in here in Sydney get both editions of books (US and UK) and have them side-by-side on the shelf. Technically I don’t think they’re allowed to do this. I recall years ago an author doing a signing in a bookshop chaperoned by the local publisher rep. Minutes before the author and publisher arrived the shop staff were hurriedly hiding the US editions of that author’s books. Ludicrous.

    I don’t know if it’s so much a matter of being “allowed” as the care and feeding of relationships with publishers which are crucial for indy/specialist stories like Galaxy (must visit whenever I cross the ditch, BTW).

    Ludicrous it may be, but I can understand why a publisher’s rep would be a tad pissy about one of their authors signing in front of a rack of books with someone else’s logo on the spine. I certainly wouldn’t feel particularly motivated to do a store that did that a solid the next time a big-name author rolled into town or a buyer wanted to talk about negotiating a discount.

  21. Ah… Thanks, Patrick. And, frankly, even when the US-NZ exchange rate is unfavourable, I like buying Tor titles because… well, damn they’re pretty. It may be entirely superficial of me, but if I’m going to spend way too much on a book I’d rather it not look like the cover was knocked up by a temp during a long liquid lunch.

  22. I can’t get the e-book version of “Fuzzy Nation”. I’m living inIreland – does that mean I fall under the “Exhibit A” clause because it was formerly part of the British Empire? Bizarre if so.
    I also don’t understand why shops can sell your books (and those of other authors) in paperback format in the bookshops here but not the e-Book format. Why is it so different if it’s from the same publisher / distributor? It’s crippling. I want to now investigate the VPN option but I shouldn’t have to go to such lengths.

  23. Yes, paper books aren’t really much of an issue any more. The eBook situation, however, has reached nightmare stage. Seems to me that traditional publishers are in a bit over their heads with this development and are trying (and failing) very hard to control the market in the same way they did with print books. But inherently, the internet doesn’t know about countries and doesn’t care about borders.
    I really wish there were no such thing as (hundreds of different) national copyright laws, as well as internation copyright law. The world has moved on, and so should the law and the publishing industry.

  24. Actually, it’s more that while I can buy the physical copy from Amazon, regardless of where I am in the world, I can’t buy the Kindle edition. So, I have to pay a tonne of shipping for a physical copy of a book? Now, that isn’t _really_ a problem – even including shipping at 25% books from Amazon are a lot cheaper than NZ retail, it’s just the discrepancy between physical and electronic media which is annoying.

  25. Oh, and about the VPN thing, as I have learned previously, Amazon does two checks. They first check the IP address, and then they check the credit card. So, you need both a US IP and a US CC to buy US only media. At least that’s the way it worked for the MP3 store.

  26. Aargh, must learn to think before clicking submit.

    Bit of information about Book Depository. Buyer Beware. They may say “free shipping”, but that doesn’t _mean_ “free shipping”. They build the cost of shipping into the cost of the product and present different prices based on the geolocation of your IP address. When our Internet access was routed through the UK, we got vastly (immensely) lower prices than when we used an NZ IP. There were a lot of purchases from Book Depository during the months we had a UK IP!

  27. I had a look and I can get “Old Man’s War”, “The Ghost Brigades” and some other of your other, older, works for my Kindle but I can’t get the latest? Why this disparity between your own books? Is it that there’s a newer contract in place? Why would the newer contract cut down on sales potential whereas the older ones leave you with a greater potential market? It hardly seems in your interest at all.

  28. To Jason (#33):
    As a veteran ebook buyer at Amazon via VPN, I can tell you that Amazon checks only on your IP address when you buy an ebook but does not care about the nationality of your credit card. Some times I need to clear the cache on my broweser; other times the server country that the VPN provider advertizes is not the same as the country Amazon considers it to be. That, however, is the extent of the troubles you’d be facing. Personally, I find it the easiest to buy my Kindle books through my iPhone while using the free services of Hotspot Shield VPN.
    As you noted, things are different with MP3 purchases. There Amazon does all of a sudden care about your credit card’s nationality. It is therefore handy to keep a friend or a relative in the USA… Not that I see the logic of it all (other than a clever way to push people towards piracy).

  29. By not making your book available in [insert country here] you are driving to me to possibly illegal measures that will profit you nothing!
    Well, no. You might be using it as an excuse, but that’s an entirely different thing. As noted there are ways to work around these things in ways that do not deprive me of royalties. I would prefer you do that, obviously.

    I couldn’t disagree more. If you want me to buy something of yours, then you have a responsibility to make sure that your work is available in a format for me to get at it. I still cant get a Ebook version of The God Engines legitimately, I havent for the record got via other means, but my patience is wearing thin.

    This is not a case of me reaching into you’re pocket and taking money out of it, or even of me not giving you money at all. It is in fact more analogous to me buying the book second hand, in which case you aren’t making any money the 2nd hand dealer is, in this case its the ISP, or the server(pay for torrent sites, newsboards etc) that is making money of your IP, because there is no where else to get it. To fill out the analogy, i went to Borders to find your book, but it wasn’t there so i got the copy at the second hand store.

    You have to accept some responsibility here, if your work isn’t available legally then it will be accessed illegally, the publishing crowd needs to learn the same lessons of the Movie Distributors, staged or delayed by zone release dates, will only affect _your_ bottom line. I shouldn’t have to break American and Australian law import and excise laws (thats what you are doing by VPN’ing and using a falsely detailed prepaid US CC) to get to your books.

    You should make it clear you expect that if the book is going to be sold in brick and mortar stores then it must be available to Ebook customers at the same time. Thats your responsibility. Ours is to pay for it legally and to not breach your copyright or IP rights.

    When it becomes possible for you to buy the book in [insert country here], please do so, and then we’re square. If you can’t do that for some unfathomable reason, then take the amount that it would have cost you to buy the book and donate it to a local literacy charity, or to your local library.

    Now this I completely agree with and your a top bloke for saying so. I will most definitely purchase your books (those that are of interest to me) as soon as I legally can.

  30. Brian C, I very much doubt Scalzi can go to the publisher and say “Give me an advance for this book, and I will give you the rights for selling it in X and Y…but I’m going to sell the ebook by my own” and get anything but a laugh.

    Most contracts have a LOT of restriction and guess what? The author is not the one putting them in.

  31. Brian C:

    “I couldn’t disagree more. If you want me to buy something of yours, then you have a responsibility to make sure that your work is available in a format for me to get at it. I still cant get a Ebook version of The God Engines legitimately, I haven’t for the record got via other means, but my patience is wearing thin.”

    Well, you know. Life is difficult that way, and we must all struggle with adversity. I’m not particularly impressed with the argument that it’s my responsibility to get you the work in a format you want to have it, and that (by implication) not doing so justifies taking it without compensating me, whether your patience is wearing thin or not. I could equally (and equally fatuously) say that if you want to consume something of mine, then you have a responsibility to consume it only on the terms I set, because I am the artist and thus my artistic temperament and desires must be respected.

    In fact, neither of us has a responsibility to the other; I am not obliged to jump through your hoops, nor are you through mine. I offer a work for sale, in the manner I (or in this case, my publisher) choose; if the manner I choose is not of your liking, you are not obliged to purchase it. I agree that’s beneficial for me to offer it to you in a format you’d like, but sometimes that’s not practical or possible, and that’s not the same thing as a responsibility. To then suggest that it’s partly my fault that you then might choose to take the book without compensating me is silly. Especially when the book is in fact available in a format (and location) for you to get at it.

    (Also, the premise that getting a free copy online is quantitatively/qualitatively analogous to going to a secondhand shop is a bad one, not in the least because that copy in a bookshop is not capable of being infinitely generated into pristine offspring.)

    In sum, it’s not the responsibility or fault of a creative person if someone rationalizes a reason to take their work, offered for sale, and not compensate them. As noted before, one can certainly use not offering it in a manner congenial to one’s particular preference as an excuse, but the artist is not obliged to respect that excuse or give it credence.

    Now, personally, I understand that sometimes people want something of mine so much that they end up getting it in a manner that doesn’t compensate me because that’s the quickest way of getting that thing, particularly in places where my work doesn’t have the best distribution. I prefer to see those folks not as people intending to screw me, but as fans who will pay me when they have a chance. The good news is that generally I can afford to wait for that compensation to eventually get to me; I don’t think most writers, however, are in that same fortunate position.

  32. As someone who was whinging on Twitter, I guess the main reason I was annoyed was the disparity between old books and new books being available differently, even when from the same publisher, as noted above.

    To be blunty honest I have torrented Fuzzy Nation because I couldn’t get it else where, and will as soon as the supply chain soughts itself out but it via Amazon as well. This was always my intention and John’s attitude above is gratifying but wouldn’t change my behaviour if it was otherwise.

    My concern is that I would love for my sale on “world-wide” launch day to be counted so John’s work could be given more credit and acclaim, rather than for it to tick over as a “long tail” like sale when international ebook rights are begrudginly released.

    The staged release internationally also means that I can not discuss with my international friends or even partake in the discussion on this site without spoiling the book for myself.

    I used to ‘pirate’ music until itunes made it easy, and I was hoping for Amazon/Apple/Direct Sales to allow ebooks to skip this awkward old school growing up middle-man distribution model.

  33. Oh and before I forget….I can get the Audiobook of Fuzzy Nation via Kindle store, just not the ebook…While there is good reasons as you have explained, it all seems to the end customer as pointless extraction of maximum profit to the distributors benefit.

  34. I wish that the right of first sale still applied to electronic media sales. Then Amazon wouldn’t be bound by the publishers regional contracts and could sell to international buyers. So, while the book market is already border-free, it seems we are regaining them in ebooks. Just when we seem to be getting rid of them with movies and games…

    ITunes isn’t any better. There are plenty of artists, movies, apps, etc. that you can’t buy anywhere other than with an American account.

  35. John

    I’m Well aware that i can buy the book at Galaxy Bookshop, in fact galaxy bookshop is on my home page. It is however $32.95AU which works out to be $35.06, admittedly this is Hardback ed of the book, the same book via kindle(in the US Only) is $4.99US which is $4.69AU.

    Surely you can see my problem. The price difference here is $28, @$4.69 a book thats 5 more books, or a 1/4 of my food bill for the week, or 1/8th of my rent for the week.

    I want to support you John, i do. If there was a “I read Scalzi before he was cool” shirt I’d be entitled to wear it. I’m also not saying that you bear full responsibility, but you do have to carry some responsibility, I don’t mean all of it but some. Just as i have a responsibility to be honest.

    You are right, because i can get your The God Engines in a reasonable format and with some ease (I’m in Canberra not Sydney though so i have to order online and pay for postage) means that i have no “right” to “acquire” this by another means. So i haven’t, but I’m also not going to guy it until i can get it via kindle here in Australia

  36. BrianC


    The cheapest listed are:
    fishpond.com.au have it for AU$17.75 delivered.
    bookdepository.co.uk have it for AU$18.34 delivered.

    They’re both cheaper than the average Aussie paperback and include delivery.

    I like DRM free ePub. If I can’t get that maybe I’ll try Kindle. If not that I would get the paper book. There is always some format available. You just have decide how much you’re willing to pay. I pity the poor buggers that can only get audio books. When they first come out, if at all, they’re 2 or 3 times the cost of a hardback.

    I got mine when it was released through sub press and where the postage costs almost as much for the book. For me it was worth it.

    I get that it is way cheaper for the kindle ebook. I tried to get the ebook of one of John Birmingham’s recent books. The only e version available in Oz was through the publisher and I really had to dig deep into their web site to find it and it cost more than the hardback! The same book was available for the kindle, but not for Aussies, for $7. Now it is available on Kindle for everybody.

  37. Just to add to the Data Set, not only are TOR books available in the Bookshops in Narita airport, but also in the bookshops in department stores in Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kokura, Osaka, Kyoto, and many many more places of the “Urban Japan” variety.
    But oddly enough, it seems Charles Stross has more legs in Japan than you, as I’ve rarely seen any of your books on the shelf here but I almost always see his.

    And Terry Goodkind. Oh my, have I seen a lot of Terry Goodkind.

  38. Another 2p worth from the UK…

    I’ve read ebooks for number of years on my Palm (well various different ones…). Mostly from Baen. When I finally, painfully, switched to an Android phone I found the Kindle app and thought “Great, now Amazon is available to me as well”. Only… It’s neutered in the UK. A tiny fraction of the ebooks available. As a result the signal to noise ratio appears quite low.

    The ultimate gainer from that is Baen, because their attitude is so good in comparison. No apparent geographic or format restrictions… Want a prc/mobi for your Kindle, epub (my current format of choice), html(!)? No problem.

    So I have a handful of ebooks (mostly free classics) from Amazon, and still buy mostly from Baen. Amazon’s still a prime source for paper, of course, largely because the geographic restrictions don’t, seem to apply there; US imports are usually available side-by-side with the UK versions (but generally with better cover art).

  39. I bought a Kindle: Specifically to save the money for a hardcopy cover of a Spider Robinson book, which is a gazillion times more expensive in hardcover than it is in ebook.

    Of course, I now buy other ebooks. Works nicely so far. With tons of authors’ works. Just Scalzi doesn’t go well with amazon.de. There is some translated stuff (which I do not care about) and only a handful of other books. NO way to get The “Ramblings on Writing” here in Germany.

    Someone does not want my money – for something that probably just involves flicking a bit or two in a big data base.


  40. Annoying as hell, especially for those of us Downunder. But every now and then it works the other way. You haven’t heard screaming until you’ve heard one of my American readers told they have to wait a month or two AFTER the book is out in Oz before they can get it in the US. The next title is gonna be the worst. Released in Oz Nov 2011. But not out in the US until April 2012.

  41. While I get all the publishing hoopla, and the outdated regions etc, including keeping Australia as part of the UK empire so we can prop them up.. okay not going to rant on as I can on this topic.

    But my query is, what happens when that smaller market doesn’t pick up your book??
    Why are we then still locked out of buying the ebook?
    What is the point of holding onto the rights then – wouldn’t it be better to get the dosh where you can?

  42. I’m a bit late to this discussion, but I’m from Malaysia and I have seen your (physical) books sold here in local bookstores. I have difficulty getting ebooks though because Amazon won’t even ship the Kindle here, let alone allow me to buy ebooks off their site.

  43. I read my first Scalzi novel, Old Man’s War, a couple of days ago. Devoured it in a couple of hours & enjoyed it immensely. When I finished I immediately went to the Kindle store to buy the second book. Oops, sorry, The Ghost Brigades isn’t available to Australian Kindle customers. I could skip it and read The Last Colony, though… THAT one is there.

    Your argument makes sense and I understand that international publishing is weird and convoluted. But to offer the first and third books of a trilogy, and withhold the second? That’s just CRUEL!

  44. 1) The situation for buyers outside the US is rotten, mostly.
    2) This is NOT John Scalzi’s personal fault.
    3) Even if it only is about a possible 10% additional (earlier) income, he still is aware of the isse.

    Yes, I can understand him. Especially from a commercial point of view (this guy writes for a living, not as an evangelist), you choose the publisher promising you the most money. Not the one promising you that everyone on the planet will be able to read it about 5 minutes after they receive the manuscript.

    But it still upsets me (and others) if Amazon delays publishing an Ebook in English is [some country well known for starting WWII] until the paper version of that book translated to [native language of people from country which started WWII] has been published.

    At least The Human Division can be ordered – and read – at the same time now, independent of where you live. Thanks for that…

  45. It’s not about piracy for most people, we just want to get things that we need and want. I got a VPN through vpnexpress.net not to do illegal things, but to access content for work and to stay secure from snooping and cybercriminals.

%d bloggers like this: