Dear Authors

9 January, 2012 Musing Musers 13 comments

Format: select

Here’s something to think about – and it’s just a little thing.

You have a lot to do when it comes to getting your book and ebook licensed.  My one request and plea is that you keep Australia in mind when you do it. You know? This place!

We have a lot of these:

But you know what else we have a lot of?  These:

Now, you may think that’s a stock photo of a woman biting her laptop.  And yes, it is.  But do you know what else it is?  It’s a representation of an Australian trying to buy an ebook version of your book.  And she’s biting her laptop because there’s not one available.  Then she went and looked up ten other ebooks she wanted to buy.  They weren’t available either.  So she bit her laptop.  That may seem like a strange reaction to non-Australians but 9 times out of 10, biting things is very effective here in Australia.  Alas, this is that one time it’s not.  No matter how many times I bite my laptop, ebooks don’t appear.

I get it, I really do.  So do most Australians.  We’re a small market and we’re very far away and very easy to forget about.  I think Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country said it best when he wrote:

“The fact is, of course, we pay shamefully scant attention to our dear cousins Down Under – though not entirely without reason, I suppose.  Australia is, after all, mostly empty and a long way away.  Its population, about 19 million, is small by world standards – China grows by a larger amount each year – and its place int he world economy is consequently peripheral; as an economic entity, it is about the same size as Illinois.  From time to time it sends us useful things – opals, merino wool, Errol Flynn, the boomerang – but nothing we can’t actually do without.  Above all, Australia doesn’t misbehave.  it is stable and peaceful and good.  It doesn’t have coups, recklessly over fish, arm disagreeable despots, grow cocoa in provocative quantities or throw its weight around in a brash manner.”

So you put it on the last of your licensing to-do list and if you get the time, you’ll license your book to us.  Maybe.  The problem is when you do that, and then all your author friends do that as well.   Then we’re stuck with no ebooks and nobody cares.  Except for us.  Look up “Australia” and “ebooks”.  There are hundreds of sites with thousands of Australians complaining about not being about to get ebooks.

I have over 300 books on my tbr shelf.  Many of them are there because I’m desperate to read them but they’re just not available to me without buying it from overseas and paying exorbitant shipping costs.  Ordering two books from Amazon will cost me $25.  Having them shipped to me will cost me over $40.  That’s almost double the price of the books at the end of the day and Amazon’s free shipping policy does not apply to Australians.

This could all be circumvented if their ebooks were available to me for sale.  But they’re not.

So please keep it in mind when you’re doing your licensing.  Don’t forget us.  Don’t put us off for six-eight months (or forever) and treat us like third class citizens for daring to want to spend our hard earned money on your product.

We will be very, very grateful for the courtesy of at least having the option of buying your work.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
Next up on how Kat is losing the plot: watch her stay awake for three days worrying about absolutely everything. - 2 hours ago
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13 Responses to “Dear Authors”

  1. Andrea K Höst

    I can but agree. Immensely frustrating. I understand the old system of licensing rights by region rather than world rights (and how Australia gets tied into Commonwealth rights on a strange timer thing as well), but it's counterproductive in the internet age and I'd really like to see that gone.I would also like cocoa in provocative quantities. Failing that, I might re-read me some Bill Bryson.

  2. Anonymous

    Huh, that's a bummer. In the meantime, have you tried thebookdepository.co.uk they will ship dead tree books abroad for free.Lesley (Arismum on Goodreads)

  3. CuddleBug

    That's true, Arismum, Bookdepository.uk has been the saving grace of Australians for awhile now. Alas they've been bought out by Amazon. My issue is that the books are a bit more expensive and by the time you pay for the extra cost of each book on Bookdepository, you've usually paid the same in freight for Amazon.Yes, Andrea, I agree. Yet many authors manage to organize the timely release of Australian ebooks so I don't know why they all don't. Veronica Rossi, for example, had her ebook out on time. Brodi Ashton's Everneath will similarly be available in conjunction with the worldwide book release.Thus both of the authors now have my money in their pockets (figuratively).

  4. Fiona Shin

    Hello! ^^ New reader here, but I've bookmarked your blog and will be checking in every day as I think you pretty much rock. Anyways…I had a quick question, which might be construed as idiotic as well, but my defense is that I haven't had enough coffee yet. For the Australian market, do they get their books from amazon.com or amazon.co.kr? In addition, do you have problems getting books from Amazon? Would appreciate a little input into this, as I will be releasing my future books on Amazon and would like to know if Australians would have easy access to them. Thank you and keep on fighting the good fight!

  5. Tatiana_G

    But, to be fair, same applies to Australian authors. There are many Australian books I would love to read, but buying them for $25 from Fishpond is a little too pricey and e-versions are not available to us here.

  6. mrsaubergine

    Please add New Zealand to this problem as well. We are in Amazon's Asia and Pacific region, and I wish I had a dollar for every time the "this title isn't available for the Asia Pacific region" pops up – I'd be able to buy several hundred books! The odd thing is that we can often get books 1 and 6 and 10 in a series on Kindle, but not the other ones – very frustrating!Amazon gives us free shipping for orders over $US25, and the Book Depository has been excellent, but now I have my Kindle I'd really like to save the trees and read on there.

  7. CuddleBug

    But, to be fair, same applies to Australian authors. There are many Australian books I would love to read, but buying them for $25 from Fishpond is a little too pricey and e-versions are not available to us here. That's not actually the author. Books are extremely expensive in Australia. That's probably just the standard price of the book. I bought Hush Hush for $22 and it was on sale. :(And yes, Aussie authors should get their ebooks out overseas. Did you hear that aussie authors? Move your asses!Problem is aussie ebooks tend to be insanely expensive as well.

  8. mrsaubergine

    I suspect that since we are lumped in with Asia rather than Australia on Amazon.com it was done to appease the Asian market. Anyway, there's got to be some advantage to living in a country everyone overlooks!Amazon.co.uk has free shipping for orders over 25 pounds for both NZ AND Aussie – but that would be quite a big book order at their prices 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    I have circumnavigated geo restrictions on ebooks and have set up a fake US account with a certain ebook retailer. As long as I provide a genuine US address they don't care that I'm paying with an Aussie credit card. Doesn't work with all retailers but it can be done.

  10. CuddleBug

    The problem with this is that people caught doing that on Amazon have their books removed and no refund provided. That would truly suck for me.

  11. La La in the Library
    Twitter:

    Mr. Bryson forgot AC/DC, but I will forgive him. Seriously though, I didn’t realize that it was so much of a problem. Thanks for opening my eyes. I will chat about it with my authors. Hehe, I collect them you know. Sort of like a crazy cat lady. 🙂

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