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When I first discovered LGBT fiction it was through the internet and fanfiction. It was readily available there, if you knew where to look for it, but sadly the same could not be said for original fiction. Wanting to read more of what I'd loved online, I went hunting for hardcopy stories with original characters. Local stores gave me no joy at all, and a hunt through one of the big bookstore chains on one of my visits to Auckland didn't do much better. Of this 3 storey shop, I managed to find half a shelf of LGBT fiction, most of it being slim volumes priced at $50 each plus.

A friend from the States sent me some books in a care package by authors I didn't know existed. I devoured them, and started looking at Amazon and the like as I was beginning to realise that they were going to be my only source for such things, although I'd be paying as much in postage as I would for the books. On a whim I searched the library catalogue and to my surprise found several books, but still not that much.

Enter my friend again who pointed me in the direction of ebooks and recommended some of her favourite authors. I haven't looked back.

Today I am finding LGBT fiction more accessible but on the whole it's through the internet, whether Book Depository (with its overseas prices and free international postage), or Amazon, although a local online store, Mighty Ape, has a good stock although at high NZ prices. NZ book prices are very high with an average paperback selling for $25-$30NZ. Trade paperbacks are up around the $40 mark. Ebooks are wonderful as they are also postage free and I can often buy direct from publishers' websites, although if I love an author I still want to collect their stories in hardcopy.

The local library too, is expanding its LGBT collection, although very slowly. I've made several requests to purchase titles, and my own books are on the shelf there which makes me happy. I was also pleased to find books by authors such as Charlie Cochrane, Ruth Sims, Sean Kennedy, Josh Lanyon, and Jordan Castillo Price appearing on the catalogue over the past eighteen months. Not as much since that influx but it's a good start.

And, on a slight digression, the other thing I've been very impressed about in regard to the local library is that they have a really good selection of LGBT DVDs.

I'm hoping that the event of ePukapuka, which has introduced ebooks into New Zealand libraries, will bring with it accessibility of LGBT titles to readers who might be persuaded to try something new.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
a_b_gayle
Jun. 11th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
availability
When I was doing my research for "Mardi Gras" I was actually appalled at the lack of books in that category in the reference section in my local library and even in nearby ones.

If I was a gay guy, I'd be really having problems. The only ones they had were slanted to either women discovering their husband was gay or mothers coming to terms with the fact their children were gay.

My beta reader, Don Schecter, deliberately aims his books to younger people setting out and discovering what life is like for a gay person. And the varied ways relationships can evolve, all told as fictional stories. I do hope libraries start to see the role books can play in this, both fiction and non fiction.

Thank God for ebooks is all I can say.

As in movies, though, there is still this tendency for libraries to stock "good" books that rarely show two men having a happy future together. A few good m/m romances might make a welcome addition.

Glad to hear yours got included.

anne_barwell
Jun. 16th, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Re: availability
The library is doing better in the HEA M/M romance department in DVDs rather than books though they have a few romance - quite a few because I've put in requests, and some really old out of print ones.

They do carry Alex Sanchez's books in the YA section, although some of those got culled in the last culling round and not sure they're being replaced which makes me sad.

As you say, thank God for ebooks. Without those and if I'd had to pay local hardcopy prices or even source a lot of them I wouldn't have been able to read nearly as much as I have. Or found Dreamspinner at all and through that a home for my own work.
siutou_amy
Jun. 11th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Book prices in Peru are sky-rocket high. I've found books that are 200% Amazon listed prices. I'm still not so down with ebooks - one, region restrictions are often apply for me. two, I find that ebook prices too expensive for a product that doesn't have to deal with the costs of a physical product.
anne_barwell
Jun. 16th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
That's the first I've heard of ebooks being region restricted - I thought that was just DVDs? Maybe that's just something that happens in Peru - it sucks.

Everyone here has multi-region DVDs just so we can access what's for sale on the likes on amazon as there's such a lot we can't get here although it's much better than it used to be. Though it's crazy that we can get stuff from the other side of the world for often half price than the same thing sells locally - and that's including postage. Amazon and the like do a roaring trade here for that reason.

Ebooks here aren't that much cheaper than the hardcopies which I can't figure out because there's not the shipping or costs of the physical product. I wouldn't buy ebooks locally either.
a_b_gayle
Jun. 16th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hi Anne and Siutou.

Geographical restrictions mainly apply to books that are print first up, which the author has received an advance for.

The subject came up on a link provided by someone on Linnea Sinclair's forum who sent readers to author, John Scalzi's site here: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/06/13/todays-interesting-bit-of-trivia/#comment-334883

I've copied the relevant points of the explanation given in one of the comments by P Nielsen Hayden. Hope that's OK, Anne.

"Why can you, in South Africa, buy a copy of the US REDSHIRTS hardcover from (for instance) bn.com in the US, but you can’t buy the US e-book edition? Why do online retailers pay attention to your address and credit card when assessing your eligibility to buy an e-book, while being willing to ship any edition of any print book anywhere?

The answer is a little arcane, but bear with me. The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to traditional printed books, neither the retail booksellers nor their customers (that’s you) are party to the contracts between John and his various publishers. Our contract with John says that _we_ won’t sell our editions of his book outside the territories in which John grants us exclusive and non-exclusive rights. Gollancz’s contract with John says that _they_ won’t sell their editions of his book outside the territories in which John grants them exclusive and non-exclusive rights. But if Amazon buys a bunch of copies in the US and someone in South Africa says “Hi, here’s my credit card, send me one,” no contractual agreement has been violated. Amazon owns those books, not us. They can do what they want with them, including selling them to people in South Africa, Shropshire, or the moons of Jupiter. Amazon is not John Scalzi, Tor, or Gollancz. You are not John Scalzi, Tor, or Gollancz.

But the agreements under which online retailers sell our e-books include restrictions, imposed by us, which require them to keep track of where orders are coming from, and require them to refuse to sell to individuals who seem to be trying to purchase from outside the areas in which we have the right to sell. Effectively, in this case, Amazon (or bn.com, or Apple, or Kobo, or whoever) _is_ a party to our agreement which John. So they can’t sell you that e-book, because we don’t have the right to sell copies in South Africa.

(Two footnotes. First, yes, everyone knows that there’s a limit to how thoroughly anyone can police these restrictions. Get a VPN connection that makes you look like you’re online from a country where we have the rights, and a credit card with a US or Canadian address, and you can probably buy the ebook with no problem. Second, the agreements I referred to concerning ebook sales, between us and the online ebook retailers, have nothing in particular to do with any current arguments over “agency models” versus other models of ebook retailing. These restrictions were in place before the “agency model” and they’re in place now.)

Does this sound like a lot of bullshit gobbledegook? Probably. Is it true? Absolutely. Did it happen because everyone rolled out of bed one morning and said “Let’s make global ebook retailing baroquely complicated, because annoying our customers is fun”? No. Does the book industry need to be rethinking how it handles this stuff? Yep. Is it? I think it’s starting to. Meanwhile, you wanted to know why–and that long explanation is the “why.”"

We discussed the ramifications of this on LInnea Sinclair's site as her science fiction romances are affected by this as are people like Julia Quinn and Eloise James.
siutou_amy
Jun. 17th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
oh, no. Ebooks are not region restricted, but stores are. For instance, a while back... we didn't have access to music in iTunes.

And I once wnated to get an ebook, and the store was only able to sell for a certain country. For example, I can't access ANY digital music or music from Amazon, so whenever they give me a $5 bonus in their MP3 store is for nothing.

The stores here sell multi-region DVDs, as pirated/black market goods are common. I don't think I've ran into an R4 DVD since DVDs came out. I think it's the same with Blu-ray players now... though mine only plays Zone-A Bluray dics (and ONLY R4 DVDs) since it was the first batch of players...
anne_barwell
Jun. 19th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
I know what you're saying re store restrictions. I have the same issues re digital music/itunes. I've been sent itune gift vouchers from the US but I can't use them here, and of course our itunes doesn't have the same content.

It comes out in other ways too. I was looking at a cool online tea store but they don't ship to NZ. Luckily I have a Canadian friend who has offered to supply me and send a care package.
TheBrandonShire
Jun. 18th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Another source
Another source for LGBT books that you may wish to try is Smashwords.com Substantially fewer restrictions and all ebook formats
anne_barwell
Jun. 19th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: Another source
Thanks! It's going to be a while before I run out of ebooks I want to read that are available which is a good thing, but I'll keep that in mind. It's the hardcopies which are difficult to get hold off or a lot more expensive with postage etc.

Thank goodness for Book Depository though of course once the exchange rate factors in, I'm still paying a lot more than people in the US.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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