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Amazon Screws the Pooch

People are posting all sorts of off-topic comments on my Miss USA post, below, so I am going to close that one and address the news about Amazon.de here.

Yes, I know, Amazon Germany screwed up big time and started shipping A DANCE WITH DRAGONS before they were supposed to. I am told that about 180 copies got out before they were made aware of their mistake and shut down shipping.

I am not happy about this. My publishers are furious.

If we find out who is responsible, we will mount his head on a spike.

Some other retailers are making noises about releasing their own stocks early, using the Amazon error as a justification. They are not supposed to do this. If you hear of anyone actually selling or shipping copies in advance of the publication date, please inform me ASAP.

I know that the 180 readers who got advance copies are happy about this, but I assure you, my publishers are not. And thousands of other readers are now getting spoiled, most quite inadvertently and unwillingly, as they stumble over the spoilers cropping up everywhere on the internet. (Some of the spoilers being posted are false, by the way). Most of those "lucky" 180 are keeping mum, to be sure, but there are always a few jerkwads in any group, and those are the ones who cannot keep their mouths shut.

A mess all around.

All I can say is, pfui.


Peter Goldson
Jun. 29th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
How long until its scanned and torrented?
Its obviously more than 180 copies and more than in just Germany. Once one person scans the book and uploads it before the 12th, eBook sales are going to plummet. Unless there are legal reasons for not doing so (for instance, not all retailers have received their copies), there is no reason not to push up the release date.

Personally I don't care about spoilers but everyone else seems to care. At this point I don't see the logic in waiting until some arbitrary date to release the book. It can only hurt sales and fans.
Jun. 29th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
Exactly. When Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows got into the hands of people only a few days prior to the release date, someone photographed every page and put it up on the Internet. The infamous "carpet copy" of the book was in pretty much everyone's hands before the actual book was even in the stores. At the UK book release party I went to, I'd say at least half of the people there had already read it in its entirety.

This is two weeks. That's pretty much an eternity in Internet time. Even if people have their books on preorder, there's no way the majority of fans won't be taking the opportunity to read it early if they can. The smartest thing the US and UK publishers could do is release it early, at least to those of us who pre-ordered it in good faith (in some cases, like myself years ago).
Jun. 29th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
I give you a reason: 600 pages (with rather big print) vs. 1000 pages (in small print). I admit I read the first few chapters of the carpet book before I finally got my hard copy (midnight release!). I don't think many would prefer 1000 pages of small photographed print over the book as soon as it's available.
Jun. 30th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
I think it's more than 180 books.

And I agree, I don't know the way the publishing works, but it would be better if it could be released earlier. The more we wait, the more people will read the book/read spoilers from trolls. I don't think there's a lot of people who'd want to read scanned pages (I certainly wouldn't!), but it might affect the sales a bit.

Whatever the outcome, I still have to re-read first :).
Jun. 30th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
I have some idea about publishing and the only reason not to do an earlier release is because of advertising and marketing. The books are obviously already printed and ready to go, otherwise there wouldn't be books to ship out in several international markets or put on the shelves of German bookstores. There are probably more still being shipped, but at least start letting them out now.

I don't think it will effect sales given how many books were preordered anyway, and those who were gonna wait till after release would wait anyway. But this is a PR nightmare and it would actually show some good will to all the people who have waited patiently for so long. I can't tell you how disheartening it is to read people bragging about their great luck at getting books early when they only just got into the series a month ago while so many of us have been waiting for years.
Jun. 29th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
Word around the 'Net is that someone is already working dutifully on this.

I have a traditional book pre-ordered. I may pick up another copy when I go to one of GRRM's signings. Nothing will prevent me from getting my hardcopy for my collection - nothing. But if a digital copy shows up this weekend somewhere...I'm going to be hard pressed to resist it, if only to save myself from being spoilered unwillingly in the interrim.
Jun. 30th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: How long until its scanned and torrented?
I would be very surprised if it hasn't hit the newsgroups and bittorrent by tomorrow.

The publishers need to get ahead of this, and release the book immediately; if the books are already sitting there, then why not release it now? I won't download the book myself, but I would hazard a guess that there are many people out there who will not wait, and the book will have lost sales.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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