Friday, 9 November 2012

Kindling in the UK

Yes, I'm on
There's a lot about ebooks that is still a mystery - never more so than when we're dealing with Amazon's Kindle. As an Amazon Prime customer I was interested to see they've added the ability to 'borrow' Kindle books... but was then rapidly let down to find out that you can only do so on Kindle devices, not my trust iPad or my desktop computer. (Not really the topic here, but I am also still very peeved that US Prime customers get free movie streaming and we don't in the UK.)

But the thing that made me write this post was the complications of books and territories. When, as an author, you sell a book to a publisher you sell various rights. You might, for instance, sell world rights, or English language rights, or just UK and Commonwealth rights. And the publisher can then sell the book in those territories. But the internet potentially makes a nonsense of this. I have long been able to buy a book from that only has US rights to be shipped to the UK. However, once you get ebooks in the mix, things get even more complicated.

Take my books with the US publisher St Martin's Press. They have world rights, so no issues here. But for a long time the Kindle versions were only available in the US. Why? No one knows. You couldn't even see them on from the UK. After I moaned about this, they have now made some available on (huzzah!)... but there's still an oddity.

My last two books with St Martin's were published in the UK by the British publisher Duckworth. Rather than export their own copies, St Martin's sold Duckworth the UK rights, just as they would to a German publisher, say, for a translation. The question then is, whose ebook gets published? Because Amazon only does one Kindle edition. Well, surely the St Martin's Press version, as they have world rights? Nope. Bizarrely, even if you buy the ebook of Build Your Own Time Machine from it's Duckworth's edition. The are even using the UK title - the US paper book is called How to Build a Time Machine. Puzzled? I certainly am.

If you are either of my UK fans and have been waiting patiently for Kindle editions, you can now get the following on Kindle:

and you have always been able to get:

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