Back to: New Guest Blogger: Linda Nagata | Forward to: Obituaries

A message from our UK sponsors

Attention, British readers!

(Administrative note: Yes, I heard the big news. Comments on the subject of today's celebrity death will be un-published. This is not that topic!)

((Aus/NZ readers: see below for an important note.))

Charlie here. I've got two books coming out in the UK this week, and it'd make me extremely happy if you'd consider reading them:

Rapture of the Nerds UK cover Bloodline Feud UK cover

One is The Rapture of the Nerds, Cory Doctorow and my crazed exegesis on the eschatological implications of the Singularity (complete with slapstick chase action and embarrassing incidents in posthuman bathrooms).

And the other is The Bloodline Feud; the first volume of the re-assembled, re-written, as-originally-intended-by-the-author, paratime technothriller Merchant Princes series. (Oh, and the Kindle ebook should be DRM-free, this being a Tor title. Ahem.)

Go on, read them if you haven't already. You know you want to!

Aus/NZ readers: Yes, I know Amazon's region locking sucks. (And yes, it's Amazon, not the publisher.) You can't buy the ebooks from But, weirdly, I am told you can buy them from Click here. (Could somebody who does so please let me know how it went, via the comments? And what land mass you're buying it from? Because I'm in Malaysia right now, and Amazon won't let me see prices at any of these links.)



I finally got round to reading Rapture last week (an import edition that's been hanging around for ages on the wrong shelf in the wrong room, hence it wasn't staring at me from the to-read shelves).

Insane fun. I have to say you and Cory have a pretty good melded voice in this, though I did spot one or two particularly Strossian bits.


So it seems Wordpress login comes up with "You do not own that identity", despite being logged into the identity in question in another tab.

Glad to hear The Bloodline Feud has been released. I borrowed that series from a friend and it is a glaring omission in my personal library which I shall rectify as soon as Minotaur in Melbourne gets a copy in!


Good, I started the Merchant Princes series a few days ago and would very much prefer to buy the rest in "bulk" even if that means I have The Family Trade twice...

¿Do you know if it is going to be available as epub for the not-Kindle users? Although without DRM moving it to epub with calibre should be a breeze... hmmm.


Do you know if it is going to be available as epub for the not-Kindle users?

Almost certainly, and again, it should be DRM-free. But I don't know the details yet (presumably Kobo et al will be selling it; the 500lb gorilla is Amazon, hence the note wrt. the Kindle edition).


Any chance that this will one day be adapted to audiobook (if it hasn't already - audible seems to have most of your other works)?

When I authenticated with, my Australian region kicked in and the kindle version disappeared - I assume it will turn up at some point and it's the complexities of international rights winding their way through the system.


Ah, excellent, had this marked on my calendar. I'd been waiting for the reissue before exploring this particular branch of your work. Looking forward to it.


Rapture of the Nerds has been available in the UK for a few weeks now, it's sat in my 'too read' pile. (I've already read the ebook version, so it's quite a ways down the pile).


will be getting the "dead tree" variant of both of those, I think...


This Is Not The Discussion Thread For That Topic.

(I'll try to post a biased personal obituary some time in the next week, but for now, please refrain from discussing the cause of the forthcoming state funeral.)


PS -- on-topic, things available for sale in the Kindle store in Europe aren't available in the US yet, right? At least without some tomfoolery? I'm curious to take a crack at the revised Merchant Princes.


Amazon says it's hardcover. Is it really? "Trader's War" is listed as paperback albeit to be published.(I want to get it for my wife and she doesn't read HCs. Or ebooks.)


I'm very excited to throw my money towards the Merchant Prince reprint - if it's anything like the Palimpsest short, Charlie, then I eagerly await your strongest fiction.

Also interested in your opinion of the former PM. My knowledge of her is mostly restrained to her foreign affairs policy during her first term which, I think, was pretty exemplary.

Might give "Nerds" a miss. I've read a lot of Doctorow, and he strikes me as grossly single-minded (I don't mean to sound haughty, that's the most pleasant way I can express my opinion of him). He can be infuriatingly obtuse on relatively complex matters and it's his resolution to give no take that makes me question whether I have much to learn from him. In contrast, Charlie, I was very proud of you when you admitted your anger regarding the Japanese government and its misinformation to Fukushima.


The Merchant Princes re-issue won't be sold in the USA until Tor US decide to publish it. This will not happen in 2013 (because their 2013 schedule is full).


It's not hardcover and it doesn't run to over 1100 pages -- Amazon's database sometimes gets screwy! (Trade paperback and more like 620 pages.)

Note that "The Traders War" comes out in early May, and "The Revolution Trade" ships in early June -- Tor are rolling the books at one month intervals.


Is there any way to see whether a Kindle book has DRM or not, before buying it? I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile with little success.

(Apparently the product pages at Amazon used to mention how many devices a book could be loaded on, and if it was unlimited, that meant no DRM. But that appears to have been removed.)


Is there any way to see whether a Kindle book has DRM or not, before buying it? I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile with little success.

  • Nope.

  • "The number of devices you can download books on" thing is an extra restriction, enforced by DRM; most publishers who mandate DRM today permit unlimited downloads. So knowing doesn't help you much.

  • If you buy it and aren't happy, you can cancel your purchase within 1 week and receive a full refund.

  • If it's one of my books, and is published by Ace or Orbit, it has DRM. They insist on it. If it's one of my books, and is published by Tor US or Tor UK, it should not have DRM, and Tor know my feelings on the subject: tell me and I'll prod someone until they snarl at the ebook vendor and get the DRM switched off.

  • Clear's throat significantly, tries to look innocent.

  • 18:

    Potentially dense question: Is there anyway that TorUS can act as a distributor of the UK editions, rather than having to go all out and print their own editions?

    I suppose it would mean printing more copies without guarantee of sales, so maybe not such a good idea. Just a thought.


    I was holding out on reading the Merchant Princess series in the hopes that eventually an audiobook version would be released (Audible seem to favor series over standalones). Is there a chance of that happening or should I just cave in and buy the ebook version? Note: just noticed the question has been asked earlier in the thread


    Beer tokens sent your way. Been looking forward to this as I have felt for a while the Merchant Princes stuff needed another pass to help join it all together nicely.

    Publishers insisting on DRM is a lost cause given Alf's (and others work). However, like many other things people seem to find it really hard to say "Well, that was a mistake. Admit it and move on".


    Is there anyway that TorUS can act as a distributor of the UK editions, rather than having to go all out and print their own editions?

    Not a dense question at all.

    It turns out the answer is no -- at least, at present: Tor UK and Tor US are not the same company. They're both subsidiaries of Holtzbrinck, a German multinational, but Tor UK is actually just an imprint (brand name identity) for Macmillan, while Tor in the US is a separate company that's a subsidiary of Macmillan US (which AIUI is a renamed American publishing house) -- it gets complicated. But basically they're different companies with a cross-licensing deal. And the wholesale and retail distributors recognize them as separate entities and are averse to treading on their toes via grey-market importing because the publishing industry has spent decades trying to suppress that kind of thing. So just as we hit the globalization era and the publishers merge, their ability to work as truly integrated multinationals is hampered by everyone else's contractual obligations to their predecessors.


    Audiobooks: I can't say for certain but I doubt there'll be an audiobook of the British version. That's because these books are past their sales peak and the market is relatively small and the job of making an audiobook of them would be titanic -- they run to 1800 pages! Someone's got to pay the voice actor and the recording studio (even if it's one guy slaving over a 4-track mixer) and the editor who abridges the work for reading (see "1800 pages" above).

    I'm not sure off-hand whether there's a US audiobook of the Merchant Princes, from Audible. If not, I'll poke someone when I get home and see if we can get anywhere. (Tor own those rights.)


    To buy the Australian version in Kindle form, you need to go to Amazon US. (Hopefully I got Charlie's referral code right - mods, please feel free to edit the URL if I got it wrong.)


    I just updated the main blog entry above to reflect this.

    I can't check these links because right now I'm in Malaysia! And guess how friendly Amazon's region restrictions are. Grr.


    Humm ... Amazon Japan says I can pre-order The Bloodline Feud right now -- at a 50% discount no less!

    How curious.


    Worked for me. $USD13.80 (which is, when all is said and done, not entirely unreasonable for an omnibus edition that's been edited down) from Melbourne, Australia.

    As for how friendly Amazon's region restrictions are: suffice to say that I'm seriously debating getting a US VPN so I can get books significantly cheaper than they want to charge me.


    and when I say it "worked for me", I mean that I now have the ebook in my hot little paws, ready to read. (except for the small detail that I'm currently working my way through the Uplift Exiles trilogy, but never mind that.)


    Thanks! Ordered . . .




    Brevity is the soul of wit and all that, but you might like to give a little more context to this comment. I'm assuming you mean that Charlie could use a Virtual Private Network to appear to be in a different geographic area, but it's possible you were suddenly overcome by sleep and your post is merely the outcome of your face impacting your keyboard.


    Is there any way to see whether a Kindle book has DRM or not, before buying it? I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile with little success.

    If the information is there, it is usually well hidden in the last line of the product details, so you have to search the post for it.

    Kobo books on the other hand feature this information in the search results (you don't have to click the title), which is one of the reasons that I use kobo almost exclusively for my international eBook purchases. Even though their selection is not as large as Amazon, and their site is a mite slow. As far as I can see, they sell the Bloodline Feud from 11th of April onwards.


    I'm in New Zealand. I just bought The Bloodline Feud from The price was $9.99 (US dollars). The page claimed I was saving $5.19. Well, who knows? But I was quite happy to pay the asking price and the wireless delivery was flawless.

    So now I have the book, and I can confirm there was no DRM on it.

    By the way -- ever since Tor stopped putting DRM on their books, I've bought lots of them. When they did have DRM, I didn't buy any of their books. So simply by removing DRM, they've made a lot of money from me. Obviously the strategy works...


    Another view from Australia:

    Your link takes me to: The Bloodline Feud [Kindle Edition] on

    Book Description Publication Date: April 1, 2013 Book Components 1x 9781447228981, The Hidden Family, Paperback 1x 9781447238140, The Family Trade, Paperback

    File Size: 885 KB Print Length: 700 pages Publisher: Tor UK (April 1, 2013) ASIN: B00C5474QM

    I'm told it is not available until 11 April, bu the formats table says I can get the Kindle edition (of the Kindle edition?) for USD$9.19.

    If I click on the "Kindle Edition" link I get

    Also unavailable until April 11

    The Bloodline Feud (Merchant Princes Omnibus 1) [Kindle Edition]

    File Size: 885 KB Print Length: 1184 pages Publisher: Tor (April 11, 2013) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. ASIN: B00C2T56II

    With both I am repeatedly invited to "pre-oder", but there is no obvious mechanism for me to do so.



    Another Australian. It's offering me the kindle edition for $13.80. Most of your Amazon Kindle editions are around twice the price of the Amazon mass market paperback. Totally ridiculous! I will continue to not buy these and get the physical paperbacks from Fishpond later.


    I don't mind the higher price, but I'm really not fond of hard-backs, especially the UK ones which are just over-sized paperbacks. When will we see a more carryable print?


    Got The Bloodline Feud in Japan via Sold by Amazon Services International, Inc., and delivered on the 11th. Also, at not a bad price -- ¥780 (about $7.80 USD). The whole process was pretty painless.


    I logged into my account at and was told that the "bloodline feud" kindle edition was not available. I reside in the US.


    Amazon have got the binding wrong; these are trade paperbacks, not hardcovers, and around 600 pages, not 1140!


    I logged into my account at and was told that the "bloodline feud" kindle edition was not available. I reside in the US.

    That's because these omnibus editions were prepared and published by Tor UK, not Tor US. Tor UK is a different company and sells the books in territories other than North America.

    Tor US are interested, but their publication schedule for 2013 was set in stone before these books came along at relatively short notice (in publishing terms). They may well be published by Tor in the USA in 2014; I'm hoping they do so as a warm-up for the Merchant Princes: The Next Generation books I'm currently writing.

    In the meantime, if you're based in the USA and want these books, well ... welcome to what it's like for those of us in the UK or rest of world who want new American titles! And (ahem) you might want to investigate the usual work-arounds. As these books are DRM-free, all you'll need to do is set up a sock-puppet AMZN account that is tied to an address in some other country and fed by a supply of gift coupons bought via ebay, or something like that. (Note that gift coupons will get you precisely nowhere on, and vice versa.)


    Is there any information on when these ebooks will be available in EPUB-native format (or at least not from Amazon)? If there is to be a choice of retailers, I would prefer to give my money to not-Amazon.


    They should be issued simultaneously in all ebook formats; epub should be available at the same time as the Kindle launch, from the usual sources, and DRM-free at that.

    (I don't track epub outlets because they're fragmented and amount to less than 20% of the UK market combined; it's too much like hard work. But in general, my books are published by major publishers who feed into all the major ebook stores simultaneously. And lo: a quick check of the Apple iBook UK store -- the only one I can check easily right now -- shows that they're selling an epub of "The Bloodline Feud".)


    Both are available in SA from Rapture of the Nerds $11.99 and The Bloodline Feud $9.99

    Works out to be about 1/2 what you would pay from a local retailer, if not less :)


    The Google Book store in the UK has it listed fwiw. (You can pre-order the next volume as well)


    (and it's definitely DRM-free from the Kobo store - says so on the tin.)


    In fact I left my Merchant Princes books in Japan to cut down on baggage when I moved back to the states (having already read them). It would be good to get them in my collection again and reread before the new ones come out, as well as to have the slightly revised versions, but I think I'll wait until I can get the whole series at once because when I do reread I will not enjoy finishing one book and having to wait for the next.

    Did click on the DRM free Kindle link in the original post and got a price in pounds, but I don't have any. And like I said, I want dead tree.



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 8, 2013 10:53 AM.

    New Guest Blogger: Linda Nagata was the previous entry in this blog.

    Obituaries is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

    Search this blog