I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from folks in the United States and Canada who are understandably a bit upset because they’ve been unable to buy Spellslinger. Worse, some were able to pre-order Spellslinger and the sequel Shadowblack on Amazon only to have those pre-orders suddenly cancelled. Here’s what’s happened, and here are some ways you can get hold of the books:
Different Countries, Different Editions
The rights to publish a book are based on individual territories. Often there are as many different editions of a book as there are countries publishing it. Want to see how weird that looks? Take a look at just a few of the covers for my first book, Traitor’s Blade:
So every territory has its own edition. The way this worked in the old days was that the author’s agent sold the rights to different publishers around the world, making deals for each one. The way it tends to work today is that one publisher buys what are called “World Rights”. As the name suggests, these are the rights to sub-license the books everywhere on earth (and, believe it or not, anywhere in the universe, if you read the contract language.)
Spellslinger World Rights
As of me writing this post, the rights to Spellslinger have been sold to countries all over the world – in a dozen languages. As an author, this is fantastic, because it means people from all over get to read your work. Recently, for example, the first book was published in The Netherlands under the title “Vogelvrij” (which literally translates to “free bird” but is, regrettably, a term referring to an outlaw and not an homage to the classic lynyrd skynyrd song.)
Alas, while I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have Spellslinger sell in so many different countries and languages, a U.S. and Canadian partner hasn’t yet been selected for the series. I’m sure this will happen soon, but until it does, the Spellslinger series isn’t available in North America.
But Wait . . . What About Ebooks?
Ebooks, just like print books, have publishers for each territory. Sometimes those publishers are divisions of the same company, but just as often they’re different companies entirely. That ebook you bought on Amazon.com in the U.S.? It’s different from the ebook you might buy on Amazon.ca in Canada. In fact, often the text itself is different. In the U.S. versions of my Greatcoats books, words like “colour” and “flavour” are written as “color” and “flavor” because that’s how folks spell those words there. In fact, some books have even bigger changes (just take a look at the different words in the first Harry Potter book between the U.K. and U.S. versions)
There was a temporary glitch in which Spellslinger and Shadowblack were available on Amazon in the U.S. and Canada, but that was a mistake. As of right now, there’s no American or Canadian publisher with the rights to sell ebooks or print books of Spellslinger, which is why the books aren’t available digitally.
This sucks, I blame you, and I still want to get a copy of the book.
True, okay, and here’s how you can do it:
1. You can buy the audiobook
If you’re into audiobooks, the version of Spellslinger narrated by Joe Jameson is absolutely terrific. Joe’s an amazing narrator and brings the story to life in a way that I adore and hope you will too. The audiobook is available on CD in North America as well as on Audible. You can buy the Audible version here and you can pre-order Shadowblack which comes out on October 5th, 2017.
2. You can get the print version delivered to you
Watch out for some of the print versions you see on Amazon. They come from third-party sellers and are often overpriced and there can be heavy shipping costs. My own favourite way to buy books not yet available in North America is to see if Goldsboro Books in London has one of their terrific signed and numbered special editions. The ones for Spellslinger sold out within a few days but they’ll have signed and numbered hardbacks of Shadowblack coming out soon.
Another excellent source is Book Depository. They have free shipping and the process is very easy and smooth. I often find the prices cheaper than Amazon, and they’ve got copies of everything I’ve ever written.
3. See if your local library can get in a print copy
Libraries in Canada (and I think it’s the same in the U.S.A.) are allowed to buy foreign editions of books when they’re not available here. Some readers feel as if this isn’t fair to the author, but trust me, it makes us very happy to know our books are available in libraries for everyone to read.
4. But I still want an ebook, damn it!
Alas, I can’t help you on this one. The books will come to North America soon, I’m sure. Until then, it’s back to good old-fashioned print or developing the fine art of patience. If it makes you feel any better (and it probably won’t), it took me over twenty years to get a copy of Bard V: Felimid’s Homecoming by Australian author Keith Taylor. Twenty. Frickin’. Years.
Last But Not Least . . .
It means a lot to me that people have been so keen to get hold of Spellslinger. I promise I work incredibly hard to make each book in the series the best possible story it can be. Knowing that there are readers out there waiting for the books makes that work all the more satisfying.