Occasional FAQ: Why Do Books Release Later to the UK, Australia & New Zealand?

This is one of those blog posts, Gentle Reader. Like the Fat Chance of my Book Actually Being Made into a Movie post, I’m writing this one primarily so I can direct annoyed email + social media demands at it. Humans need a why in order to calm down.

Things A Lady Would Like To Know 1872

What follows is a great deal of why


I’m an Aus/NZ reader of your books, why does it always take so long to release here? Why do you hate people in the Southern Hemisphere?
Not my choice. Nothing to do with me.
Aus/NZ market is usually 2 weeks later than the UK, because that is how long it takes physical copies of a book to ship from the UK to the far reaches. Books have to get across the sea, and then overland into the shops. Shipping early, if even possible for the distributor, results in confused bookstores shelving the book for sale at different times before the ISBN is in their computer. This means errors at check out, possible litigation from the publisher if the book has a SOS (strict on sale date), and serious damage to the author’s sales figures and general sucess of the book.

But we always get it on the same release date if it’s a King, Simmons, Patterson, (name your preferred major white dude authorbeast), why not you?
I’m not that big a deal. Thanks for thinking I am.

Surprise! Laundry Jail.


So why don’t your publishers just drop the eBook at the same time in all English speaking territories?
My agent has a blog post touching on this. Other guesses: Because they are afraid that then no one would buy the physical book if it released behind the eBook? Because then all the readers of paper books would write emails to me complaining that I am punishing them for preferring the dead tree and why do I hate print readers so much? Because digital globalization is terrifying? Because rights and distribution contracts vary? Here is Charlie waxing poetical on the subject.


I’m a UK/Aus/NZ listener to your books, why does it always take even longer to release audiobooks? Why do you hate audiobook listeners?
Not my choice. Nothing to do with me.
I don’t know what’s up with UK audio distribution services. They seem to take forever. Or maybe it’s my UK audiobook publisher. If I were to ask, I can guarantee you that each would blame the other. Having minimal contact with Audible US via Crudrat, I can say that they are unusually painful to work with on these matters. Regardless, it seems about 2 weeks after print release before my audiobook drops in old Blighty.
Aus/NZ audiobook dropping can be as much as a month after US print release date if not more. I DO NOT CONTROL THIS. This has nothing to do with me. My guess is that, as an offshoot of the already challenging UK audiobook market, things are compounded down there. I don’t know what the audiobook market share is Down Under, but I should think small. Thus no one is motivated to fix it.

I really do feel empathy for you. Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to get a hold of the book you want, in the medium you want, in a timely manner. (Don’t get me started on all the OP books from my youth that aren’t available as ebooks.)

As a traditionally published author, I do not have the power to affect this. And YES I have tried. SO HARD. It’s wrapped up in contracts, rights grabs, fighting for other things I really want as a creative, and sacrificing some stuff on the altar of others. On the bright side, you do get the book, eventually. Imagine being one of my Italian or Spanish readers?

Yes, it is monumentally frustrating. Imagine being on my end of this equation? Because, boy, there ain’t enough tea in England… or Australia.

Here have a photo of a cute cat, fuzzy blanket, and tea. Does that make it better?
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