Friday, August 13, 2010

Ebooks abroad

Just shoot me now.

I should have titled this blog “Ebooks in Hell.”

I have received several messages from irate disappointed readers regarding problems they’re having getting Last Night's Scandal in ebook format in the UK and Australia.

For the record:  I did not forbid anybody to sell ebooks of my stories in any country.  Neither did my agent or my publisher.

What happened is that ebook sales went suddenly from nowhere to somewhere, and the publishing world wasn’t ready.  You took them by surprise, ebook readers.  Now they’re all going, “Eeek—what do we do?” and running around screaming and clutching their heads.

At least in my imagination they are.

I am not sure why they weren’t ready or why they’re having such a hard time working this out.  It seems as though it should be so simple.  Book distributors and retailers have been navigating the shoals of foreign rights/tax laws/duties, etc. forever. I have no trouble getting a print book from the UK or Australia.  I just click the button at the online bookstore.  You’d think ebooks would, if anything, be easier to buy than print books.  There’s no packing and shipping.  You click the button and Presto! the book magically appears in the device of your (Gentle Reader’s) choosing.  What, exactly, is the problem?

Believe me, I did try to find out.  And now I have a headache and would like some very strong medication, because it's even nuttier than I supposed.  There’s apparently some confusion among some retailers about where they can legally ship ebooks and there are some import issues and misunderstandings about territorial restrictions.  And then there’s that thing where everybody and his Great Aunt Sophronia is coming out with a new, wonderful ebook reader—and so is this one allowed here and is that one allowed there and can this store sell this one when it already sells that one?

There’s more, but this is as much as I understand and can relate coherently.

However, they will sort it out—and soon.

Meanwhile, Gentle Reader, I ask for your forbearance.

Illustrations courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540. USA.  Above left:  Beauty holding a book, by Toyonobu Ishikawa, c. 1742Below right: Albert Morris Bagby's new novel Miss Traumerei, by Ethel Reed, 1895.


nightsmusic said...

I don't have a 'real' ereader. I use my EVO phone to keep a few books on if I'm caught somewhere and need to read while I'm waiting. But at least on my phone, I don't have a single, proprietory format I have to stick with. I have the kindle app, the Nook app, the eReader app, PDF, doc...I can read them all.

Since I prefer paper books anyway, I don't know that I'll ever have the problem of trying to buy an ebook from another country.

So, that said, maybe you should just recommend everyone buy them in paperback and have done with it! :o)

Portia Da Costa said...

It's a nightmare, isn't it? I'm trying to find out why some ebook only titles of mine aren't available at the new UK Kindle store, but no answer seems forthcoming anywhere. I'm just hoping they'll pop up one of these days. :(

Toodles and Binks (Galaxy Girl from UK STampers) said...

It's frustrating here in the UK not to be able to get out hands on some ebooks, but fingers crossed it will resolve sooner rather than later.

I am hoping that some of your hitherto out of print books might make it into ebook form here too .... I am anxious to get my sticky little fingers on them!

Loretta Chase said...

I'm very happy to report that we're in the process of digitizing my out-of-print books. Watch this space--and my website--for updates. I've fallen behind with the website, but believe me, the digitizing is moving along!