RARA-AVIS: Re: British books in US

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 07 Apr 2001

Dick wrote:

>Kevin's comment about the lack of US publisher interest in UK doesn't quite
>gibe with my observation. Ignoring the obvious US "imports," from Harry
>Potter to Ian Rankin, I think both St. Martin's and Walker publish more
>British crime titles than American titles. Scribner publishes, last time I
>looked, a healthy lineup of British titles from folks like Barnard and
>Brett. Same with Mysterious Press. Certainly, if any book makes money in
>England (McDermid, Robinson et al), it winds up at an American publisher. If
>the point was that some very good noir titles are overlooked, I wouldn't
>argue against that one. But it probably means they weren't of noticeable
>"financial" success at home.

Well, I guess I should have specified hard-boiled fiction (always a niche market), but I'm happy to be proven wrong if that means there'll be more HB fiction from the U.K. available in affordable mass market editions, instead of pricey yuppiebacks, on this side of the pond. As I said before, I hadn't really been to a decent-sized American bookstore in a while, and I should have made it more clear that I was thinking more along the lines of writers like Ken Bruen, Mark Timlin, Irvine Welsh and the like. And sometimes it's not even British authors. I bought several of George's early books as British editions, because, as far as I could tell, there just weren't any U.S. editions available.

And Anthony chimed in with:

>Come on guys, let's be fair ... it takes a while to get them translated
>before they can be published. ;)

And all the big words taken out?

But seriously, do they still do that? Sometimes I think they don't edit books at all. But do they really still go through an entire book changing tyre to tire, colour to color and boot to trunk, just so American readers don't get confused. Or the other way around? I remember somehow receiving an 87th book translated (beaten, more like it) into "English" several years ago, and it was just completely awkward and silly. Do publishers really take all of us for such isolationist morons that we can't figure it out? Or are they just aiming for the lowest of the lowest common denominator?

I think I'd rather have a glossary or even friggin' footnotes included, rather than plow through another botched trans-Atlantic cultural translation.

But how many people are there in New Jersey?

Kevin http://www.thrillingdetective.com

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