Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Princess of Cleves - by Madame de Lafayette

This blog is a pleasure to write.  It almost writes itself because I so enjoy picking titles.

But there is one big problem- I have to check ten titles that are free on Amazon US to find one free on Amazon UK!  So when I do have a UK title that costs a pound, you know I just can’t keep passing over interesting content because it is not free.  In fact sometimes a book that is free in the US can cost upwards of four pounds.  I have never seen the reverse, where a book was free in the UK and not in the US.

My theory about UK books not being free has to do with the Kindle being introduced in the US first.  Most of the free classics no doubt are conversions from Gutenberg. There may have been an early effort by Amazon and others to provide free content.  By the time the Kindle UK site was added, those who were motivated to convert and add classic books may have been guided by the thought of sales rather than altruism.  It may also have to do with copyright differences in the UK.

But one thing is not a theory.  Amazon UK Kindle book prices in general are higher because there is a 20% VAT charged on electronic books.  In the US, Amazon does not charge tax.  Occasionally a state will attempt to charge sales tax on Amazon products.  Usually a state can only charge sales tax (which is never over 10%) on Internet sales if the company has a brick and mortar location in that state.  Most recently Texas demanded Amazon collect state sales tax and Amazon responded by threatening to close a fulfillment center in Texas.  Texas blinked and Amazon will not have to collect sales tax and will open more fulfillment centers as a good will offering. 

Oh, back to book reviewing.  I am fairly talked out, so will go with The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette.  (US Edition)  (£0.86 UK Edition)

This is considered to be the first psychological novel and it is a romance from 1678.  You will notice the UK version is not free. 
However, the UK product description says, “NOTE: This edition has a linked "Table of Contents" and has been beautifully formatted (searchable and interlinked) to work on your Amazon e-book reader or iPod e-book reader.”
Whereas the US product description states, “This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. (But there is no charge.)

I can only see the US version and there is a linked table of contents – with four entries, Part I, Part II – well you see the pattern.

One Amazon US reader complains this is not the Mitford translation, without specifying which of the many Mitford writers he means.  The UK version is not the Mitford translation either.  It is quite possibly exactly the same edition.  I can't tell because I cannot do UK downloads.

The King [of France], during the Treaty, continued on the frontiers, where he received the news of the death of Queen Mary of England; his Majesty dispatched forthwith the Count de Randan to Queen Elizabeth, to congratulate her on her accession to the Crown, and they received him with great distinction; for her affairs were so precarious at that time, that nothing could be more advantageous to her, than to see her title acknowledged by the King. The Count found she had a thorough knowledge of the interests of the French Court, and of the characters of those who composed it; but in particular, she had a great idea of the Duke of Nemours: she spoke to him so often, and with so much ernestness concerning him, that the Ambassador upon his return declared to the King, that there was nothing which the Duke of Nemours might not expect from that Princess, and that he made no question she might even be brought to marry him. The King communicated it to the Duke the same evening, and caused the Count de Randan to relate to him all the conversations he had had with Queen Elizabeth, and in conclusion advised him to push his fortune: the Duke of Nemours imagined at first that the King was not in earnest, but when he found to the contrary, "If, by your advice, Sir," said he, "I engage in this chimerical undertaking for your Majesty's service, I must entreat your Majesty to keep the affair secret, till the success of it shall justify me to the public; I would not be thought guilty of the intolerable vanity, to think that a Queen, who has never seen me, would marry me for love."

I doubt that is a fair representation of the story, but it made me want to read more!

This blog is a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the US & UK Kindle. If you enjoy my suggestions, please tell your friends who read to give my blog a try. 
Join me on Twitter, FaceBook, or Pinterest.


For a nominal fee of 99 cents/pence, you can subscribe to this blog and have it automatically download on your Kindle. This gives you the convenience of being able to download the books directly to your Kindle, instead of downloading them to your computer and then transferring them to your Kindle. It also helps support my blog.

UK readers may go to this Amazon link to subscribe.  (Slightly more than half my readers are from the UK)

US readers may go to this Amazon link

Thank to all my readers, whether you subscribe on your Kindle or whether you read it online.  I love to get good reviews!  Who wouldn't?  Should you care to leave a review, follow these links for UK readers or US readers.


I'm reading: The Princess of Cleves - by Madame de LafayetteTweet this!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.