Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mr. Midshipman Easy - by Frederick Marryat

When the Kindle was released in the UK, I was excited. I was going to buy a Kindle just so I get UK titles. About once a year I buy paperbacks from Amazon UK and the postage cost as much as the book. There are some books sold only in the UK and they are great reading if you an Anglophile. In particular I like the travel literature which are books by extreme travelers - such as someone who would ride a motorcycle across the Sahara by himself. So being able to buy those books on Kindle would have been great!

Unfortunately, there are Byzantine rules preventing someone in the US from buying UK titles. First your Kindle must be dedicated to one country or the other. You can buy from Amazon US or Amazon UK, but not both. (If you move, you can switch your Kindle.) You select one country or the other, but you have to have residency - which is proved by having a credit card billed to you in the country of residency.

One reason for this is some UK Amazon Kindle books are cheaper than US Kindle editions of the same book. So maybe there was a fear that people would register in the UK to save on bestsellers. Somehow I doubt it - but what an irony. The new medium, the Kindle with its E-ink, can't cross borders like an old fashioned hardback can! WHAT A SHAME . . .

Here is an example of the fallout. C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower is not available for the Kindle in the states. You can get the books in the UK though. Here is a collection of Hornblower books for UK users ONLY.

I think this might be because Hornblower came later to the States and perhaps is still in copyright. Or maybe it is just some foolish decision by someone at Amazon who thinks Americans don't want to read about the Royal Navy under sail. I have read a couple of the Hornblower books and enjoyed them, but won't be getting them free on my Kindle.

I have to content myself with Mr. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat (UK edition) (Deutsch edition) who joined the Royal Navy himself in 1806. He wrote a number of novels of which this is one. One Amazon review says:
Captain Marryat's books have been difficult to find until now, and I'm overjoyed to find so many on kindle. I thought this book was great, very funny and understated, even if it's a couple hundred years old it seems perfectly relevant today.
Here is a sample:
"As Mr Sawbridge, the first lieutenant, happened to be going on shore on the same evening for the last time previous to the ship's sailing, he looked into the Blue Posts, George, and Fountain Inns, to inquire if there was such a person arrived as Mr Easy.

"O yes," replied the waiter at the Fountain,—"Mr Easy has been here these three weeks."

"The devil he has," roared Mr Sawbridge, with all the indignation of a first lieutenant defrauded three weeks of a midshipman; "where is he; in the coffee-room?"

"Oh dear no, sir," replied the waiter, "Mr Easy has the front apartments on the first floor."

"Well, then, show me up to the first floor."

"May I request the pleasure of your name, sir?" said the waiter.

"First lieutenants don't send up their names to midshipmen," replied Mr Sawbridge; "he shall soon know who I am."

At this reply, the waiter walked upstairs, followed by Mr Sawbridge, and threw open the door.

"A gentleman wishes to see you, sir," said the waiter.

"Desire him to walk in," said Jack: "and, waiter, mind that the punch is a little better than it was yesterday; I have asked two more gentlemen to dine here."

In the meantime, Mr Sawbridge, who was not in his uniform, had entered, and perceived Jack alone, with the dinner table laid out in the best style for eight, a considerable show of plate for even the Fountain Inn, and everything, as well as the apartment itself, according to Mr Sawbridge's opinion, much more fit for a commander-in-chief than a midshipman of a sloop of war."
Shiver me timbers!

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1 comment:

  1. Your blog says "Here is an example of the fallout. C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower is not available for the Kindle in the states. You can get the books in the UK though. Here is a collection of Hornblower books for UK users ONLY."
    Comment: all Hornblower works are available in the US for Kindle and epub and pdf, published by eNet Press at enetpress.com
    by G. Forester


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