US Editions VS UK Editions
One Bryant & May book didn’t get published in the US.
If you’re a career writer and manage to sell a few books over the years, you’ll be shocked at the space they take up. I live in a flat, so room is at a premium and international editions can’t be kept. I tried separating the covers and storing them without the text but I somehow managed to throw those out by mistake.
Once, an English language edition did not mean you got the same book stateside and in Europe. Several of my non-Bryant & May novels were edited for easier comprehension, losing the more extreme local references. Happily, Penguin Random House in the US has never had this problem with Bryant & May, and have kept in all of the highly oblique references which, I’m given to understand, some readers take a weird pride in decoding.
However, not all English language editions are identical, because for many years two separate editions were created on either side of the Atlantic with different publication schedules. Different editions picked up on different subjects, and a couple of the books (I’m sorry, I can’t remember which ones) turned out quite differently from one another.
Happily, my books have never been censored. It alterations bothered me in the same way that I used to become incensed about horror films being censored in the UK. Recently there have been attempts to suggest that the book-banning homophobic Christian busybody Mary Whitehouse was right all along. But this non-professional ‘ordinary concerned housewife’ deceived her public; Q&As were carefully planned in advance, dissident voices were quickly removed and audience members were thrown out of her public meetings.
I campaigned for years to make a single English language edition available everywhere. Penguin Random House New York worked hard to achieve this, and more recently the volumes have been synched so that everyone gets the same book, except for the covers. Why is a sans serif typeface considered better for the US? Well, perhaps it’s just about making things just a little different.
However, one Bryant & May book did not get published in a physical format in the US. That was Vol 18, ‘England’s Finest’, although I have no idea why it should be. It’s a shame because now some references have to be removed or altered.
Overall, it’s still a massive improvement on the days when books were sent to me with covers that made me recoil. Some of my earlier thrillers were published in Russian (that won’t happen now!) and had fantastic covers, although they bore little relation to contents, and I have no idea what their translations were like. I’m glad that’s over because my Russian publisher had a capacity for vodka that I could not match!