The Beauties of Multi-national Publication, or “Why Can’t I Get That in Germany?!?”
With the recent publication of THE EXILE, the debut of OUTLANDER: The Musical, and the giveaways of OUTLANDER paperbacks and ebooks, I’m getting a number of queries/complaints from people who live in other countries—all to the effect of, “I tried to get this, but it’s not available in the UK/Australia/NewZealand/Germany, etc.!”
Well, see, the way that publishing works is that a publishing company buys certain specific _rights_ to a book. If you have a decent agent, you _don’t_ sell “worldwide rights” to your manuscript; the agent makes separate deals with individual publishers in different countries. Each publishing contract defines exactly which rights you’re selling—and the “exclusive territory” in which the book can be sold.
Which means that not all publishers buy all books at the same time—and not all publishers choose to promote the books they have in the same way, either.
Right. Now, with respect to THE EXILE, only three countries have so far bought that book: the US (Random House), Canada (Random House Canada), and the Netherlands (De Boekerij) (their translation is not yet released).
You aren’t getting it in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand because Orion—my UK publisher (whose “exclusive territory” _includes_ Australia and New Zealand) is not yet convinced that there’s any market for graphic novels. Ditto Blanvalet Verlag, the German publisher. They doubt many people in their countries would buy it—so they haven’t made an offer for it—and you don’t get it, unless you order it from the US, via Amazon.com, The Poisoned Pen, or some other way.
As for the giveaway of free OUTLANDER paperbacks and ebooks—that’s something that Random House (US) has chosen to do, so those offers are only available _in_ the US. If any of our other publishers choose to do likewise, we’d be very pleased—but I can’t –make- them do it.
Now, the OUTLANDER: The Musical CD’s are a little different, because those are not being distributed by a publishing company, but rather by the producers themselves—that being Mike Gibb and Kevin Walsh, in Scotland. I’ve got them an Amazon.com account, to facilitate the CD’s being more easily available in the US, and _should_ have an iTunes account going pretty soon here. Next step [g] is to see about getting an Amazon.de account, for those German fans who’ve been having to order CDs from Scotland. But that, we _can_ do without it having to be done through a publishing company; it’s just a matter of me or Mike having time to establish all the different avenues of distribution—and I’m on a book-tour, and Mike’s up to his eyeballs in writing the libretto for the stage production of OUTLANDER: The Musical. So it may take us a little while, but we’ll get there. [g]
Meanwhile, if you’d like to let the UK/Australian/NZ/Germany publishers know that there _is_ a market for this particular graphic novel, at least…
I hesitate to put down any publisher’s personal email address here, but here’s some general contact information:
Orion (UK, Australia, and New Zealand – you might want to tell them which one you’re from):
Blanvalet Verlag (Germany):
http://www.randomhouse.de/blanvalet/index.jsp (there’s a link for “Kontact/Service” on the left
I have to agree with a previous commenter that the best way to get books outside of the US when it hasn't been sold to foreign publishers yet it through the Book Depository.
They currently have The Exile 44% off and offer FREE shipping worldwide. Their shipping is usually pretty fast. I've purchased from them many times and have never been disappointed. Love them and their free shipping Can't wait to read Exile!
Funny, I live in Germany and ordered The Exile via the german amazon.de and got it 2 days after its release. There was no problem at all getting it so I don't understand why some people claim that they can't get it here. And for the Graphic Novel the language barrier is no problem at all – few text, a lot of pictures. Anyone should be able to understand that…
Btw, The Exile is brilliant! I absolutely loved it.
I don't know about the sales numbers but is there any chance that there will be more graphic novels?
Glad to hear that y'all are getting the book with no trouble! (Apparently it's just that you can't get it in a _bookstore_ in the UK, Germany, etc.)
As to sales, I don't know that either, but would love to do another graphic novel!
Got my copy of The Exile in the post this morning on my way out the door for work. Can't wait to get into it when I get home! I've been craving some more Jamie and Claire since finishing Echo. It looks amazing and got here faster than I thought it would (I ordered it on Amazon as I'm from NZ):)
PS. the clarity on the Kindle is great, so although the Exile would be black and white (no colour on Kindle, it's e-ink and thus black on white) it would be sharp. Just make sure they offer zooming – I've tried a few graphic novels on Kindle and those that don't have zooming can be impossible to read (given the paperback size of the Kindle). iPad could have colour, of course -it's LCD and a bigger, heavier unit.
While you're pestering about The Exile in ebook form, pester about the Kindle editions of the text versions of the series for Kindle for Australia. Not that I'm nagging [g].
I've just written a comment that the internet has eaten twice so I'll do a shorter version.
Just got a Kindle. Now appalled at the limited number of titles available to Australia. eg. Gabaldon: only FC and EB. Daft. Why not the whole series, not this spotty, random, unsequential pair? Having freebie giveaways of Outlander in Kindle form to US customers is like rubbing salt in the wound when you can't get it here for the Kindle even if you're happy to pay for it.
I don't think it's up to me to harass publishers. I would have thought that authors and agents should be doing that – esp. related to demonstrated bestsellers where the formatting is done, it's only about rights/contracts. And the author's living, and the profits available to agents and publishers.
Print-wise, if local booksellers/publishers are slow off the mark, tough luck: I can buy from Book Depository or Amazon.
The draggingly slow availability of digital books (audio and ebook) for markets outside the US (esp. English-language ones like Australia, ie. no translating) is incredibly frustrating for customers. Bestselling authors need to use their clout to change this, not only for customers but also for other authors (no, I'm not one, but they don't have the same clout). There is a legal workaround for print books, as mentioned above, but for digital ones, no (only illegal pirate copies). Not what I want to do, not what authors/publishers/agents would want either.
sorry to rant, but this ongoing issue is immensely frustrating and so very slow to change.
I can see how frustrating that must be. My only guess is that publishers in general are ra-ther slow to adapt to changing conditions and media.
As for authors harassing publishers–well, we can, but only if we know where it needs to be done. Speakin' just personally, I have [counting on fingers] contracts with 26 different publishers, times varying numbers of books (most new publishers begin with only the first book, 'til they see how it sells, or with the first three, then add more cautiously), times heck-knows-how-many available formats (ebooks are nonexistent in some languages, spottily available in others, as you've seen), and in a bewildering array of venues (is an English-language ebook available through X, Y, Z, but not A, B,C?).
Not that I'm unconcerned about readers getting books in whatever format they want, by any means…but there's a rather limited amount of time available to me on any given day (especially during tour season), and I do apologize, but it really is a choice of whether I'm going to service complaints (and look for complaints to service, to boot, which seems to be what you're suggesting), or write books.
I hope I don't sound snarky, here–not my intent at all–but I'm leaving for New York in about an hour and a half, and still a lot to do, so posting rather fast.
I'm from Germany but I'm currently in Stockholm and I got Exile today in a bookstore. Thanks to Science Fiction Bokhandeln for importing it. I just love this bookstore.
Read a couple of pages on my way back home here in Stockholm and it's really great.
I just recently (last 3 years) discovered the Outlander series. I read the last 5 books over the past summer. Needless to say, I am hopelessly addicted to the characters and their story. From the looks of it you are extremely busy with the musical, Exile, tour events etc. I am just curious…can you give us addicts a round-about-time for the release of the 8th book? I'm thinkin' you really have it completed and are just holding out on us!
Oh, and by the way, any excerpts would be greatly appreciated!
I am fairly certain you actually could order The Exile in a German bookstore (at least in the larger chains), I think somebody at Fraser's Ridge mentioned doing just that. My guess is that a) it would take a lot longer than ordering from Amazon (international orders can take anything from 2 weeks to 6 months) and b) it would be more expensive than through Amazon. But if you ask nicely (and are willing to pay whatever price it ends up being in the end and wait for an unknown period of time) you can order pretty much everything.
Plus I fear that Blanvalet might be right about there not being a market for graphic novels in Germany. They are not very popular over here (yet) and if they are bought… well, that kind of is a different target group. From my experience, graphic novels (at least where I work) are rather bought by manga/fantasy/sci-fi readers than by those interested in historical/romance/whateveryoumaycallit fiction. I can see real fans buying it, just for having a "complete set" of your books, but I somehow cannot see a huge market (yet).
However, I feel that graphic novels might become more important for our market in a couple of years. Maybe the thought of eventually getting it on the markt over here should be postphoned but not abandoned… aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben
But then again, we are also still waiting for an unabridged German version of the audiobooks (hopefully not read by Daniela Hoffmann) or the unabridged versions of Fiery Cross and Breath of Snow and Ashes on the German Audible. Again I hope that postphoned does not mean abandoned Especially as the market for audiobooks already is growing (they were unheard of 10 years ago and have just gotten really popular).
But yeah, I can see where Blanvalt is comming from. Kind of. Unfortunately.
OMG so excited! Previously the Amazon anniversary special to get Outlander for free was not available for Canadians. I just checked on a whim and I am so EXCITED to share that I just got Outlander downloaded to my Kindle for free (well the .99 charge for international) but we can now get it!
Excellent news for Canadian Kindle users!!!
I guess this may make me unpopular, but I sold my Exile as soon as I got it. It felt cheesy and didn't satisfy my need for a "fix" of Outlander. I guess I am just not into the whole cartoon genre. Yeah, I know, it's a "Graphic Novel", well, it's a cartoon by any other name and the images do not match the descriptions in the books. I never thought that there would ever be a negative comment from me regarding an Outlander publication, but there it is.
SO, my big deal is, when are the next real books coming out?
I truly adore the Outlander series and feel like I actually know the characters. They actually brought me a closer connection to my Scottish heritage.
And while I'm at it, I like Katherine Heigle as an actress, but she is NOT Claire material…
Thanks for letting me kvetch a bit!
Thank you for replying to my comment – very much appreciated. I take your point about the busy life of an author with multiple contracts etc – but isn't keeping track of that something your agent should be doing too? – eg. noticing that the Kindle title availability is oddly spotty ( eg. for Australia; I can't tell for other territories)? – Why not start with the first three, as you say usually happens, if they're/you're/someone is not going to go with the lot? Somebody, somewhere, made the decision to write that contract with just FC and EB (unless it was put together by evil robots who hate Australian readers and have engaged in ongoing sabotage…[g].)
Given that the odd spottiness of this isn't something you knew, or your agent had put on the table, I guess comments/complaints/rants like mine are useful research then, letting you know where problems (and eager customers) are. For me, really, I don't want to buy two later unsequential titles in the series for my Kindle, I'd rather start from the beginning again; I don't think I'm alone in that. So the way in which this decision has been made re Australian Kindle availability is likely to affect sales, or deter sales. Which can't be what you or your agent would want.
In my line of work, complaints (uncomfortable though I may find them) are also opportunities. And with 450,000 books available on Kindle to Australia (vs 600,000 to US customers) surely it's flattering to you to know how quickly I noticed the absence of most of your books from that 450,000.
Maybe your agent needs to put together a big fat informative database or spreadsheet to keep proper track of it all, so you have time to keep writing, and everybody's time is used effectively.
After that Canadian reader's comment, I checked again; they may have Kindle Outlander now, but our limited choice hasn't changed. Sigh.
Wait! I remain corrected. This is totally wierd.
I ordered "Ten Ways to Romance a Rake" for my friend's birthday and she lives in the US. So I ordered to have it shipped to her directly from Amazon. While I was in Amazon, with my friend's address as the shipping address, I saw I could get Outlander. So I downloaded it and it is on my Kindle.
Then I went back to switch the settings back to my Canadian address for my own purchases and once again Outlander was not available to Canadians. Wow isn't that weird???
Just finished reading "The Exile," once again, I couldn't put it down. Well done!Your choice for Hoang Nguyen as illstrater worked well, he did an excellent job portraying your characters.
Just finished reading "The Exile" – just loved it and was very impressed with all the illustrations. Confused about Kenneth though?
Incidently, for those in New Zealand who cannot buy this book in the bookshops, it is now available on-line through "Fishpond.co.nz"
Hello, another Aussie here.
Just wanted to say that I totally agree with the earlier poster “Meghann”.
I discovered the Outlander series last week & finished the second book today. Hugely, did I mention HUGELY disappointed to find that I am unable to purchase the next couple of books as ebooks. Incredibly frustrating to see the series available in the USA as ebooks, but not here.
Just what is the point of buying an ebook reader to find 1 book available to Australia out of the 87 books on my purchase list?.
Yes, it is up to the agents to pull themselves into the 21st century, it should not be the authors responsibility to chase up.
Rereading the series in prep for Season 5. While I have read all the books at least 5 times, I just read The Exile for the first time. It is faithful to the books except Geillis. Who is Kenneth and where did he show up from? Will we see him again?
Thanks again for helping me through my husband’s cancer journey for the past 5 1/2 years. Don’t think I would have made it without you.