Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Aren't eBooks Global?

Joshua Bodwell writes in the current issue of Poets & Writers magazine about book lists ("You Are What You Read"). He calls the list of some of the books he read last year "Bodwell's Baker's Dozen". As translators we not only read for pleasure, but also to keep current on terminology and usage in the languages in which we work. As freelancers we also run our own businesses and may read up on business advice. All of this, then, should lead to a fairly eclectic reading list for most of us. Last year, mine included:
  • Global Communication by Thomas McPhail
  • The Social Media Survival Guide by Deltina Hay
  • Till Eulenspiegel by Christa and Gerhard Wolf (German)
  • The Entrepreneurial Linguist by Judy and Dagmar Jenner
  • Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar edited by Richard Ford
  • New Stories by Southern Women edited by Mary Ellis Gibson
  • Los Mejores Narradores Jóvenes en Español from Granta en Español (Spanish)
Unfortunately, unless I am willing to pay outrageous shipping charges, I find it rather difficult to get a reasonable selection of physical books in German here in the U.S. The main branches of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan library systems do have German-language sections, but their holdings tend to be rather mixed, including quite a number of German translations of American books, and mostly relatively old. Bookstores carry, at best, annotated bilingual collections of short stories for students who are learning German.

Enter eBooks -- or so I thought. Just like the Internet finally let me read foreign newspapers without spending a fortune (and waiting 2 weeks for an issue to arrive), I thought I would now be able to download German-language books. But when I went to Amazon Germany, I found that I cannot download books from them to a Kindle registered with a U.S. address. So much for digital media as a means to access content from around the world ...


  1. Same here. Stuck with century old French books on my Kindle, which are great to read, but hey, I want to read recent stuff too!!!

  2. There should be some more elaboration about how to translate languages on the ebooks to attain the clarity level during various downloads for it.

    english german translator

  3. anshuman: I think there is some misunderstanding about my post. I was talking about getting eBooks in languages I speak, so I don't really need any translation to help me download them.

  4. For physical books might I suggest trying They have free shipping to most countries in the world, including the US, and their prices are fairly similar to other well-known online book sellers.

  5. thats pretty interessting. so i dont need to download anything to get my pages on my ebook translated?


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