Tuesday, 13 September 2011

David Anthony Durham's ACACIA trilogy to go unfinished in the UK?

Ken from Nethspace has a great review of The Sacred Band, the final novel in the Acacia trilogy by David Anthony Durham, up here.


However, it appears that UK fans waiting for the final book - or indeed like myself waiting for the final book to come out so they can read the whole series - may be in for a sore disappointment. Bantam UK, Durham's British publisher, has so far failed to schedule the novel. Indeed, there appears to be a strong possibility the book will not be published at all:
"My British publisher has been dragging their feet. I think my editor is supportive, but the number crunchers are complaining that The Other Lands didn't sell as many copies as they wanted. The verdict is still out on whether they're going to bite or not, but the delay isn't a good sign."
Bantam UK does seem to be the most drop-happy of the UK SF&F publishers, having canned Paul Kearney's Sea-Beggars series after the second volume. In fact, the circumstances seem to be almost exactly the same: they market Book 1 strongly and it sells quite well. Then Book 2 sneaks out with no fanfare at all and sinks without a trace (I had no idea The Other Lands was on its way until it was already on the shelf). They then panic at the under-performance of the second volume and drop the series. The only difference is that with Kearney they also retitled the second book just a few weeks before release, completely confusing the few people who did know it was coming out.

Of course, releasing the third book with a great deal of fanfare and getting people to pick up all three books would have been a smarter move, but clearly Bantam have some other plan in mind. Very odd behaviour from the same publishers who carefully supported Steven Erikson through many years of very modest sales before he finally broke into the big leagues with the last couple of novels in the Malazan series.

10 comments:

underext7 said...

Hmm... I actually just picked up the first book of this series at a local used bookstore the other day. That's a real bummer. I should probably wait to start this one...

Pauline M Ross said...

Amazon.co.uk has the hardback due for release on 4th October, and the paperback in late January, but that may not mean very much. Whatever happens, I hope they decide to put out the ebook version, and at a reasonable price, because that sells with minimal additional cost to the publisher. Well, it would sell to me, anyway - like you, I've been waiting for the series to be finished before reading it. After all, it's one of the top 25 fantasy books, according to this site: http://bestfantasybooks.com/top25-fantasy-books.php.

Anonymous said...

Utter cowardice.

Adam Whitehead said...

Amazon.co.uk is listing the American version of the book, not the UK one. So it's not the case like it would have been a few years ago where British fans simply would not have been able to read the book at all, they can just order it from Amazon or even buy it on the shelves in Forbidden Planet. You can probably even order it specially from Waterstones if they have some stock in.

In fact, I am now minded to simply buy the American editions of the books so I get a matching set :-)

Anonymous said...

What the?! Of all the big titles coming out this year (Dance w. Dragons, The Magician King etc.) I was mostly looking forward to Acacia 3. It's disappointing there might not be a release in the UK. Well, I'll just get the US version instead...

Pauline M Ross said...

Forgive me if I'm missing the point here, but surely if a UK reader can order the book from Amazon.co.uk on the usual terms, then there isn't too much cause for wailing and gnashing of teeth? The US version is surely a perfectly acceptable option. I can see that the Russian version might be problematic, but we can probably cope with a 'gotten' or two, or the occasional 'color', without undue distress.

Adam Whitehead said...

Oh, certainly. That's the other difference with Kearney, that we're not being denied the book for years on end until the rights revert to the author (and Kearney's series will be finished in late 2012 by Solaris instead). However, Durham's UK profile and sales will be hugely and adversely affected by there not being a UK-specific version on bookshelves. Also, notably, Durham benefits more from the exchange rate by being an author living in the USA getting royalties in pound sterling from physical copies.

David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Adam,

Mind if I comment?

You want the real irony here? I am living in the UK at the moment! I'm in Scotland, here for at least a year. My wife's Scottish. We've moved back and forth from the US to the UK several times over the last 15 years. I've lived 5 of those years in the UK, and we're back for a stay just now.

I was (well, I still am) planning on going to cons here, promoting the series, doing what I could on UK soil to help the series. I still will, but it's a bit of a bummer not to have a British edition in hand as I do so. (And yes, my UK publisher does know that I'm here for the year.)

I think there's still a good chance they will publish it here in some version, but, no, clearly it's not going to be the full press of a large format paperback that comes out near the US edition.

If I hear anything happy from Transworld I'll pop over and mention it. On the upside, my French, German and Portuguese publishers have all signed on for all three books...

Neth said...

Thanks for the link.

Hopefully Bantam will see your post and realize how bad it lookds for them, and then publish the book.

Anyway, Adam, Durham is actually living in Scotland right now, so the exchange rate won't benefit him so much.

Adam Whitehead said...

Okay, maybe the exchange rate won't help then :-)

"Hopefully Bantam will see your post and realize how bad it looks for them, and then publish the book."

High improbable. They got much worse PR for their handling of the Kearney situation, and that didn't change their minds at all.