The Whatever Geographic Default Entry

This is one of those “post now for later reference” posts.

Folks, I live in the United States and the bulk of my personal, political and economic life, including book sales, is tied into it. Also, while I am happy to see that almost 30% of my traffic to Whatever comes from other countries, over 70% of my traffic comes from within the US (the country with the next largest share: Canada, with 7.45%, which means that 80% of my traffic is North American).

Additionally, despite the Internet being an international phenomenon, actual political states still exist and as a result the economic and political world is still fragmented to a greater or lesser extent.

As a result of these factors, here are some things you should assume.

1. For the purposes of me writing on Whatever on any general topic, you may assume that unless I specifically state otherwise, I am defaulting to talking about the experience of the topic in the United States, and that I know that the experience of the thing may be different elsewhere.

2. Likewise, in the case of commerce, if I talk about the availability of a book or anything else I’ve created and have available for sale, unless specified otherwise, you should assume that I am speaking of its availability, and its sale price, in the US (and to a lesser extent Canada), not anywhere else in the world, and that I know it might not be available as noted anywhere else.

I highlight this because I have to admit I find it a little bit exasperating that every time I mention something for sale, there’s a very high chance that within the first few comments will be someone complaining that the thing is not for sale in [insert country not the United States], or is not for sale in [insert country not the United States] at the price I noted. I likewise find it exasperating because I don’t really think it’s a secret that I live in the United States and might focus on it as my home sales region; likewise I don’t really think it’s a secret that other countries aside from the United States exist and that they have different laws, territorial economies and availability windows, when it comes to my work, and the work of others.

I additionally find it exasperating because I’m not entirely sure why anyone thinks complaining to me about these things will do anything other than exasperate me. I don’t have any control over nations, their politics and their trade zones; likewise I only fractionally more control over when publishers in various countries decide to publish my work in their economic territories or how retailers make things available in their regional stores (I have discussed this before here).

I recognize that when people complain about these things, they don’t intend to exasperate me, and they do appear to think I have significant amounts of control over these things. But respectively, they do, and I don’t.

Beyond the sales issues, when I discuss issues relating to life in general, there’s often someone jumping in not to share about how things are different in [insert country here], which is fine and excellent and which I appreciate, but how because things are different in [insert country here], my observation about the subject as it relates to the United States is thus invalid, which is irritating and complete nonsense. This is particularly the case whenever I discuss poverty issues in the US, for example; there’s a certain brand of trollish grouser (not necessarily living in another country, I should be clear) who likes to suggest, for their own personal political reasons, that unless one is baking in the sun in a dirt hole in a third-world country, with a distended belly and no shoes, one cannot possibly know what real poverty is. Once again, I find these people exasperating (they’re also wrong).

Bear in mind that my noting what the geographic defaults here are is not to suggest that everything in the US is always better or more important than elsewhere on the planet. It is to say, hey, I live here, most of the things that affect my life are here, and most of my career is focused here. Naturally, this is where my gaze will lie as a default.


64 Comments on “The Whatever Geographic Default Entry”

  1. maybe you should take these complaints as a reminder that switching to online distribution of your books may be a lucrative way to go. You may of course be locked into some archaic publishing deal for your existing works, which would prevent a modern distribution, but i hardly think that reminding you of an untapped market away from your shores should exasperate you.

  2. I don’t have any control over nations, their politics and their trade zones;

    He says, wearing a monocle, petting his cat. “But soon,” he says. “Oh yes, very soon” And then laughs maniacally….

  3. Leif Olson:

    Leif, unless you work in publishing, I’m going to suggest (as gently as possible) that you probably don’t have much of an idea of what’s actually lucrative for me, in terms of selling and distributing my work.

    This is another point of exasperation, I would note: The number of people who want to armchair quarterback my publishing career without too much understanding of what the actual market is, and what the dynamics of profitably selling one’s work are, right now, rather than the way they think it should be, based on their own preferences that don’t mirror the real world as it exists at the moment. As with any industry, publishing is generally more complicated than it seems from the outside, and becomes more complicated on the individual level, where one solution does not fit all.

    The above comes off as snippier than it probably should, but, honestly, folks. You realize this is my job, right? And that I’ve been doing it for 20 years? And that I am very good at it?

  4. I’ve often been dissatisfied that you don’t tailor your posts specifically to reflect the geography and social realities of living in West Virginia. You heartless, callous jerk.

  5. Because Canada accounts for over seven percent of your visitors, I do think it’s high time you had a post dealing specifically with poutine. You wouldn’t want to see that percentage drop precipitously, would you?

    Obligatory: I’m so sorry for the threat, eh?

  6. Leif,
    I think John has written about this at length.
    There are many benefits to “archaic publishing deals,” such as: editing, advertising, promotion, order fulfillment, commissioning cover art, and much more. This frees up his time to do such crazy things like actually writing books. See also: “opportunity cost.”
    (Although, John has done a fair deal of all of this, and been successful. I don’t know that that is where his passion is, though.)
    I’d prefer he sticks to cranking out more words. Let the experts handle the rest.

  7. When I complain about UK availability, it’s really more of an existential wail of despair than a demand for you to fix the situation. Wouldn’t you have wailed in despair if you’d had to wait an extra 6 months to read Redshirts? I mean, if you hadn’t written it and all. I guess you didn’t really need to read it after the whole process of dragging it out of your brainmeats and into text. But if you hadn’t written it, you’d have wailed! Wouldn’t you?

    (I’ll try to knock it off though.)

  8. Oh, sure, you know so much about the writing industry. I’ll have you know that my spouse’s self-published book has made HUNDREDS of dollars over the last few years. I am sure you will immediately see why this qualifies me as an expert on all topics pertaining to writing for a living.

  9. When I saw it pop up on your OMW post this morning, my first thought was, “Does it have to be every time folks?” It’s the reality of book publishing, whether someone thinks it is old fashioned or not. It is the way it is. There are books published in the UK and Australia first, to use two examples, all the time. It used to happen a lot more as well. 10 years ago or so Terry Pratchett’s books came out in the UK 6 months before they came out here, US I mean, and I felt like tearing my hair out about it. So I do understand the frustration, but until it makes sense for it to change, this is how it’s going to be, and no amount of pointing it out to the authors is going to change it.

  10. For what it’s worth, I’ve always known where you were coming from. Spent time traveling a couple decades ago and grew up in the middle of the Pacific, so perspective and place have long been an important determination for me.

  11. I have no problems with this blog being USA-centric. However, I was a little bit disappointed to find out that’s pricing scheme is actually location-sensitive. (I somehow, naively, thought it was global except for shipping costs. So much for that bubble.) Well, now I know this for the next time.

  12. Also, Leif, simply going online doesn’t make it international. Once money starts flowing, the (already somewhat illusory) statelessness of the internet breaks down fast amidst a bewildering variety of:
    * currencies
    * tax codes
    * incorporation requirements
    * import barriers
    * IP laws

    Basically, once you’ve got an infrastructure that can navigate all that, it’s… A publishing house e-book division. Quelle surprise.

  13. ” I don’t have any control over nations, their politics and their trade zones… “

    Of course not. But you could at least talk to the yogurt for us.

  14. Be careful when you bandy around those Canadian readership stats, John, lest the Office québécois de la langue française come after you and start demanding that you provide your blog in French as well as English. Any love you might have for poutine will avail you nothing.

  15. For those of you who have been lucky enough not to have been exposed to poutine, note that “poutine” is a Québécois word that means “someone barfed on my french fries”.

  16. I’m not sure why this turned into a discussion of poutine (which as a picky eater I find gross but as a Canadian I feel obligated to talk about cheese curds being required for proper poutine rather than just cheese), but I think the more important thing is John’s use of the phrase “double double” to mean something from In-N-Out Burger rather than coffee with double cream and double sugar. You will pay for your double double crimes Scalzi!

  17. Tangentially related: I bought Redshirts, read it, enjoyed it, and sent it off to my FiL. He, being a Scalzi fan (I claim bragging rights for that), was thrilled to receive a previously unknown (to him) Scalzi novel. He lives on the East Coast, doesn’t like Amazon, and the nearest B&N is an hour drive away. Just because you live in the CONUS doesn’t guarantee you will have easy access to Our Host’s works, either.

  18. Is it possible you’re feeling cranky because the world is going to end on Friday? And by the world, I don’t mean just Ohio or the US. After all, those Mayans wouldn’t trifle with predicting the end of Ohio.

  19. Rather than post inane comments on Whatever, I would recommend sending emails to likely publishers in your home territory asking them why they haven’t contacted me yet to arrange a license.

  20. I DO work in publishing. I’ve worked in publishing for 20 years and while I have no idea about the specifics of your publishing deals, I do think that Tor’s seeming reluctance to go for worldwide distribution of ebooks is archaic, and harming you and them. The fact of the matter is that the vast bulk of the ebook market is the kindle, it’s growing hugely in parts of the world outside of the UK and North america but those are the only two kindle stores. So if I can’t buy a Tor book on my kindle in Australia (for example) chances are I just don’t buy the book at all (especially for fiction where my to read list is vastly longer than my ability to read it all). Rights deals need to change to reflect a world that bares no resemblance to the one which spawned things like Commonwealth rights deals.

    And apart from anything else, it’s polite to consider the wide range of your readers when you talk about this.

  21. I just remembered something else than enrages me – Tor do’t even get worldwide digital rights for their short fiction they publish on their website. No one else I can think of is so strange about this.

  22. Understand where you’re pitching towards, but at the same time, every time an agent sets up their client so that people who’d like to give them money can’t, then that agent’s letting all the parties down.

  23. Leif Olson @ 1.19pm

    maybe you should take these complaints as a reminder that switching to online distribution of your books may be a lucrative way to go.

    Leif, which country do you live in? ‘Cause let me tell you, here in Australia, we regularly curse and swear over the various distribution clauses for different books. I’ve given up attempting to buy books online, because if I go to the US Amazon, I’m told I can’t buy it from them. Then if I go to (my other alternative) I’m told I can’t get it from them either, because I’m not in Britain, I’m in Australia, and there’s a different fscking contract required for Commonwealth distribution rights.

    Plus, of course, I get Aussietax (that lovely price increase which guarantees that anything I buy costs at least 150% of the price someone in the US or UK pays – even for electronically distributed items!) slapped on the top of it.

    Effectively, the rule is that publishing distribution law is fucked up several ways from Sunday, and that nobody and nothing is going to change this short of someone like Rupert Murdoch acquiring all of the existing publishing houses and realising the law is interfering with his sacred profits.

    John, is there a preferred way you’d rather we publicised information about non-US release dates, pricing etc? I mean, I’m presuming that “politely” is the default, meaning “in a way that doesn’t imply that any differences in timing, price etc are all 100% JOHN SCALZI’S FAULT!!!1!!”, but is there a preference other than that?

  24. Lots of websites can tell where I am posting from. You should rewrite your blogging software to detect browsers’ locations and alter your messages accordingly for all 200 odd countries in the world…

    (People who omit or spoof location data deserve what they get.)


  25. Folks:

    With respect to Australia and Amazon (in particular), there’s no reason from a rights standpoint that you can’t get any of my books there in eBook form. That has to do Amazon’s particular business practices and how they’ve decided to let people access their regional stores.


    “I do think that Tor’s seeming reluctance to go for worldwide distribution of ebooks is archaic, and harming you and them.”

    What part of publishing do you work in, Nick? Because this statement doesn’t look like you spend any amount of time on the end of it I work on, nor does it appear you understand the economic value of rights for authors.

    Specifically, you seem to be unaware that Tor would be delighted to have worldwide distribution of eBooks, for my and almost everyone else’s books they get. They don’t have them because I typically don’t let them have them, and the reason I don’t typically let them have them is because I can make more by selling them to different publishers, and I have enough clout to withhold those rights to my advantage. You seem to be under the impression that I sell my works to readers; I don’t. I sell them to publishers, who then sell them to readers. The reason I sell them to publishers rather than readers is because by and large it makes economic sense for me to do so.

    Now, if you’re wondering why Tor might be reluctant to insist on worldwide ebook distribution rights, the answer is simple: Because if they made it an ultimatum, I would find a different publisher who did not. I can do that because I know my current value as an author in the market, and equally important, Tor knows I know what that value is as well. Conversely, you may assume that when I let Tor have worldwide eBook rights (as, for example, they have with The Human Division) it’s because I have determined that it is in my economic interest to do.

    This manner of doing things is not in the least archaic; it’s an absolutely contemporary negotiation between two interested parties, both of whom are trying to extract the maximum amount of economic value from the work. Looking at my balance sheet, I can assure you that this strategy is not harming me economically.

    To your assertion that rights deals need to change to reflect a different world; perhaps they do and perhaps they don’t, but economically speaking I don’t live in a world of what should be (or more accurately, what you believe they should be); I live in the world of what is, and in the world of what is, the planet is still divided up into countries and territories and if I have any sort of economic intelligence at all, I factor the real world into my sales considerations.

    Your kvetch about Tor not taking worldwide rights on short fiction is likewise evidence that whatever part of publishing you work in, it doesn’t deal with actual authors. Tor not taking worldwide rights allows authors the opportunity to make more money from reselling the work in different markets, not less.

    “And apart from anything else, it’s polite to consider the wide range of your readers when you talk about this.”

    Allow me to be blunt, Nick: Are you fucking kidding me? I want people to read me, but I’ve also got a mortgage and bills to pay. This is my job. If you think I’m going to cut myself off at the knees economically because you believe it’s somehow polite to readers to hand over my worldwide publishing rights, you are simply delusional.

  26. John – I’m a commissioning editor so I deal with authors constantly but I’m also a technical, non-fiction commissioning editor and so you’re right: the situation is very different. And you’re also right – I was guessing about Tor’s position on worldwide ebook rights and I guessed wrong. We do make it an ultimatum on ebook rights (more or less) and it’s never been an issue in my experience but my author base is very different from you.

    In terms of the real world, it seems to me that as far as ebooks go the world isn’t divided into territories. We all (Or at least 80% of us) buy ebooks via the kindle platform. But I’m absolutely positive that you’re wrong about Amazon above – I can buy every book I’ve tried to buy in recent memory for the kindle using an Australian address (including every book for the publisher I work for) but I can’t buy the majority of Tor books. Hence my incorrect assumption on their position but the net effect (I can’t buy Tor ebooks where as I can buy virtually any other ebook) remains the same. Tor told me via their facebook page that they didn’t sell ebooks internationally for contractual reasons as well although I don’t assume the person answering questions on their facebook page is necessarily in possession of all the facts.

    I can’t speak to the economic value of your ebook rights and I certainly appreciate your right to make a living. I’m fascinated by who buys ebook rights to Australia and how much they pay and if you have any details I’d love to see them but I imagine they are confidential. From my position (not knowing your details but knowing the Australian publishing market well) it seems insane – so few ebooks are sold in Australia on kobo or other, non-kindle platforms that I can’t see why anyone here would buy Australian ebook rights.

    And finally no, I’m not kidding but you misunderstood – when you come on here (or when Tor advertise deals) saying ‘my books are now $1 on Amazon!” and we all run off to Amazon to complete our collection, buy second copies etc. It’s frustrating. It costs you nothing to say “$1 for US readers” but it is much more polite and considerate. You’ll still get people complaining but at least you will have done your best to make the situation clear. But that was what I was talking about, not you changing your rights position.

    PS I wrote all this, went off and thought about it and realised that you might be selling ebook rights outside north America to your UK publisher. Again, it seems odd they’d want them given the fact that Australia is an market, not an market but whatever…

  27. Folks, to state the obvious: just because John seems to be (and most likely actually is) a nice guy doesn’t mean he doesn’t put his economic interests above, well, ours (it would be sorta stupid to do otherwise). He plays the publishing world (arcane and stupid as its rules might be, and I suspect both those things to be true) to HIS advantage and seems to do so very well, indeed. He appears to be VERY good at maximizing HIS profit per unit of work produced. I’ve noticed that he’s hardly alone in this as I suspect many well known SF and Fantasy authors of his generation actually make more thru consulting, speaking fees, tv and movie rights etc. than they do thru “writing”. If John can maximize his profit thru special editions, serialization, whatever (oh, didn’t even do that on purpose) he’s going to, as is his right, of course. I think it’s called smart marketing.

  28. Nickm76:

    “It costs you nothing to say ‘$1 for US readers’ but it is much more polite and considerate.”

    Well, I do try to do that, and thanks for the clarification. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s particularly onerous for people to keep in mind my own particular set of defaults, either, so that when I forget (or simply choose not to make the note) I don’t get too much griping about it. I don’t find the repeated griping all that polite or considerate either, and this is my personal site.

  29. Really I find myself wondering who is surprised when they discover they don’t live in the United States, and why they don’t know how things work in the country they live in.

  30. I have to admit the only people I have ever heard say that Americans don’t understand what poverty means were Africans (Kenyans and Somalians, plus a friend from Trinidad and Tobago who grew up in Uganda), back when I lived in Northern Virginia and worked at a university.

    But I don’t think too many Africans comment here currently, and those long ago comments were based on their own experiences growing up in rural areas.

    And I will confess to a crime here, though the statue of limitations is long expired, even in the fantasies of the most zealous enforcer of publisher rights – I helped the Kenyan I knew best send hundreds of ripped cover books (dictionaries and classics, for example) back to her country.

    For those unaware of it, most paperbacks are ‘returned’ to the publisher by stripping off the cover as proof that the actual book was destroyed before the publisher gives credit to the bookstore – printed mass market paperbacks aren’t worth the expense of sending them back and warehousing them to sell again, even when the demand for a book like the Great Gatsby remains somewhat constant in a college setting. (This may give some idea of how cheap a physical book really is, and why publishers insist that e-books should cost just as much as a ‘real’ copy – the actual cost of many physical books is measured in pennies at most, publishers being long accustomed to the idea that an actual book is just something to throw away if it does not sell.)

    She was thrilled to have our trash and send it back to her former home, as we only took books out of the dumpster after work, and not directly from the college bookstore (where we both worked). And I had no problem helping her, even if it was expressly forbidden to do so by the terms the publishers had imposed. However, I don’t think that the Brontes or Jane Eyre missed their royalty checks, and I know that none of the people receiving the books we sent could have paid for even one copy for the school to have, much less 10.

  31. Sorry for upsetting you (I posted a “not available here” in Twitter). And thanks this reference post. Won’t happen again.

    I’m a relatively new “follower” and I’ve been enjoying reading your blog posts and tweets. So for the past few weeks I’ve been looking for your books in bookstores here in our non-US country. A dozen bookstores and a dozen shelves of sci-fi books later, I still haven’t found a single Scalzi. And then I thought that ebook was finally my break… exasperating, indeed!

    But I’ll keep trying. The more I read your blog, the more I feel I’m missing out on all the fun.

  32. No worries, Neil and welcome. Also, go over to the sidebar and check out the “Creative Sampler.” Lots of stuff to read there for free, including a full novel.

  33. This should probably go without saying, but in my experience such things rarely do: this issue isn’t just for American authors. Terry Pratchett used to post on his Usenet group (back before the web was really a thing) as if the UK were the center of the universe. I admit I occassionaly found it irritating to hear “thingie is in stores now”, and to know that it wouldn’t be in my stores for months. I knew it wasn’t his fault, so I managed to supress the urge to whine, but not everyone was as restrained as me.

    Of course, what Sir Pterry would forget–like some of the posters here seem to be forgetting–is that places outside of the US don’t really exist. Except for Canada, which is just a Providence of the US, everywhere outside of the US is imaginary; made up for propaganda purposes. And if there were a real place outside the US, it would certainly speak some foreign jibber-jabber, not English. So stop trying to fool us, all you Aussies and UKies and Kiwis–we know you’re just figments of our imagination, and your posts aren’t even really there.

    Excuse me, I think I may be overdue for my meds…. :)

  34. John, could you please pass along my disappointment with Tor on the decision to release “Red Shirts” in paperback two weeks AFTER Christmas. I went to the local B&N to see what new Scalzi book I could buy for my wife (and then borrow later) and found that not only was the paperback not available, but the hard back was sold out. This was in the good ole USA, fer Christ’s sake!

  35. Jimbot:

    You’re expecting me to complain to my publisher that they waited until after the busiest and most profitable commercial season of the year to release a paperback edition, from which I receive fewer royalties (both as a percentage (initially) and as a raw amount of cash) than the hardcover version? Yeah, I’m actually fine with that.

    Also, the paperback comes out three weeks after Christmas (1/15).

    Note also that when a book is sold out, you can always special order it. The B&N would have been delighted to take your order and call you when the book arrived. And of course, it’s also available online, and with six days to go until Christmas, there’s a good chance it will still arrive on time. You can still do it! And I will thank you for it if you do.

  36. I would think that the additional copies sold, even at a lower royalty rate, would make up the difference. Does Porche/VW make more money on 911s or bugs?

  37. Jimbot:

    “I would think that the additional copies sold, even at a lower royalty rate, would make up the difference.”

    Alternately, we sell tons of the hardcover during the holiday season (which is what’s happening) and then sell tons of paperbacks after the holiday season (which is also likely, given the sales track of Redshirts) and make even more money overall. That’s the plan Tor is going with. My mortgage approves of this plan.

    I’m not sure your analogy works, incidentally. VW sells both VWs and Porches because they address different market segments; they don’t stop selling Porches because VWs sell more, which by your analogy they would need to do.

  38. There’s another layer of complexity on top of the rest of the economics: At some point, some people start concluding that they are making enough money, or have made enough money, and start behaving in ways which mystify economists, because the premise has usually been that economic actions are rooted in maximization of economic value. And occasionally this produces surprising economic results as well; for instance, some authors and musicians find that allowing people to read a book for free increases not only sales of their other books, but even of the one that’s now free. Which suggests that some readers, too, are making choices not rooted entirely in maximizing their economic outcomes.

    In general, I tend to maximize wealth up to the point where I have the bills paid, give or take a little, and past that I tend to maximize successful pursuit of various other goals, which is frequently economically disadvantageous, but gets me the things I want.

  39. This manner of doing things is not in the least archaic; it’s an absolutely contemporary negotiation between two interested parties, both of whom are trying to extract the maximum amount of economic value from the work.

    Somewhere, Adam Smith is smiling very widely indeed. This is exactly the way the marketplace is supposed to work.

  40. I know that VW makes both Porches and Bugs, and makes a lot more money on each 911 than it does with a bug, but it sells many more bugs than 911s. As for different market segments, I am definitely in the bug/paperback market. Given the state of the economy, you will see many more of us looking to save a buck. Unless it is something really special (signed copy), I normally get a paperback. The important part (the words) are the same. I can re-read a good paperback book until it falls apart, and then pick up another copy for less than the cost of one hard cover.

    I never implied in either post that Tor should discontinue selling hardcover copies of “Red Shirts”. But since you and Tor have decided that we should all have Porches, I’ll take mine in red.

  41. Please ignore the last sentence. I bet it is driving the “English teacher” side of you nuts. :)

  42. It’s Porsches unless we’re talking about a nice place to sit and drink lemonade in the summer. (You could do that in your Porsches, too, but try not to spill on the nice upholstery.)

  43. Sorry for contributing to your exasperation, obviously never my intention. Is there a handy list of your publishers in various places anywhere? I could find one with google. I need to know who is the right person to bug about getting your books onto :).

  44. @JohnScalzi: Might be a good idea to put links to posts where you discuss the publishing industry and profitibility. Maybe a FAQ? I don’t know anything about the publishing industry, so some of the things people say would make sense to me until I read something by someone in the industry. I think it should be expected that people don’t know about your business. Its like this everywhere. I think I said this before. There is a big difference between being self employed and working for someone. I have done both. Until you are self employed it is hard for most people who have never done it to understand what you are saying. Most people are used to a job where you are paid every two weeks.

    Given this thread, I should say, most people who live in the United States who have jobs in this bad economy are used to jobs that pay them every two weeks. This is not a reference to people in other countries who may have jobs that don’t do that.

    To all the people from other countries who write contracting responses about life in their countries. I am sure I am not the only one who finds this very interesting and please continue.

  45. I think John needs to get some official Nazi mods for his forums. To help with his frustration. :P. Lots of people love those roles.

  46. @megpie71: google IP scrambler or proxy IP. you can make your IP look like its from the US or UK. There are tons of free ones. Then go buy from Amazon.

  47. Does anyone know of any blogs that discuss fine details about the publishing industry? The more I read it in bits and pieces on authors websites the more interesting I find it. I’m not interested in being an author, I just get curious about stuff…

    There is another post from John, I found interesting. He said that he can make more money selling his international e-book rights piece meal than it would be worth for TOR to pay him for all of them. As an outsider I find this a a bit odd. I would think that if TOR bought all of the rights to his ebooks world wide, they would have an economy of scale. They already have to format the ebook, etc… and then its a matter of posting it online for sale in various countries. Each individual publisher in each individual country would have to spend time and money formatting, the book etc.. for sale. Then do their own marketing.

    The one thing I can think of is that these books need to be translated into local languages. So the cost to translate to a publisher on the ground in the country is lower because they have people they can contact to do the translation. Then I thought maybe it would be profitible for TOR to buy the world wide english language rights to his books and pay more than all the individual publishers due to them already have the book formatted and existing marketing. The only thing I can think of is that then the publishers who translate the books to native languages may not find this too profitible due to the cost of translation and not be interested in translating or would pay alot less.

    There might also be an issue with taxes and in these individual countries. Local publishers may get lower taxes and TOR may have to pay more to handle taxes in a variety of countries. There also could be alot of local laws and regulations in different countries that TOR has to spend money to understand and follow. All of this might lower the value to TOR to buy all of the rights.

    Yeah I rambled, but I don’t know anything. Can anyone confirm whether I am on to this? I am curious why TOR would pay less for world wide distribution than the sum total of a bunch of local publishers. On the surface it looks to me like it would be a good idea for them to pay more.

  48. There are on-line bookstores that sell books internationally postage free, so people in Australia (like me) and most other countries in the world can buy US-released books and UK-released books without having to wait for them to be released locally. The book depository – dot com for US, dot for UK releases.

  49. I know this is a bit off track of the commentary, but I do think it is relevant to your original post. I apologize if I am mistaken.

    I love your postings and view of U.S. politics. I don’t expect you to ever comment on non-U.S. politics but if you do, I will treasure your views on Harper/Cameron/Gillard/Berlusconi/Putin etc.


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