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Old 12-06-2010, 08:03 PM   #1
zeppo
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translated literature

I am exploring the idea of buying a dedicated ereader-- specifically, I have been looking into just how easy it is to find the books I want. Easy you think? Nope.

It has been extremely frustrating and time consuming actually. The reason this is so comes down to the fact that when you find a book on line by the publisher you like, you would expect that when there is a link to download the e-version, it would be the same publisher? Am I crazy? Is that not what you would expect?

Well, of course that would make life simple, and there is no need for that. Much better that the websites just direct it so you download a completely different mystery version-- let it be a surprise! Now, I can download the preview so I am not doling out cash first, but still, it remains a surprise until you are able to open it. How fun!

Let me take my sarcasm a little further when I express the joy of downloading the sample version, and still often having no clue which version it is because all references to the publisher are missing.

Specifically, what it boils down to folks is there is a lot of foreign literature I am interested in reading and that means I am interested in who does the translation. So far I guess my best game plan is to go to a book store an take a snapshot of a few pages with my ipod touch of each version, so that when I do go to download I can compare with what I have snapshotted with my ipod and determine which version I am looking at on my download.

So anyway, are there any of you out there who have shared my frustration and have found ways of dealing with it?

What's the best source of feedback as to which downloads are well done in terms of features, formatting, etc. Very frustrating to find out that websites that have reader reviews available such as Amazon and B&N do not distinguish the publisher or version. So when you are dealing with classic literature that has multiple publishers, all reviews are lumped together. Coupled with the fact that most reviewers don't even realize this, and you can't always tell which translation the reviews are about.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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Your comments are a bit unclear.

Are you looking for ebooks that are not in English?

Are you looking for English translations of foreign literature?

Are you looking for new books, or for older and mostly public domain books (in the US, published prior to 1923)?
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:47 PM   #3
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I am looking for translations to English (primarily from French and Russian, but also German, and definitely Cervantes.)

Almost all of what I want to read is now in public domain.

For starters...

War and Peace
The Count of Monte Cristo
Don Quixote
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #4
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I understand that you are also looking for translations that are in the Public Domain, right? The public domain status of the original says nothing about the translation.

Well, the nature of the Public Domain is that anybody can take it and do with it whatever they want, including publishing/selling it for profit. For example, I searched for War and Peace by Tolstoy in the Kindle Store and found 94 results from the free ASIN B002RKRUPE to 3-volume set each of which costs almost $50 (ASIN B003N18Y7E).

I typically look somewhere in the middle. The free versions are usually without formatting and without an active TOC. If it's a translation, I am looking to see if the translator is identified (for example, ASIN B004C058OW that costs $0.99 shows that the translator is Maude Aylmer). In all instances, if I like the edition of the public domain book, I note the name of the publisher for the future. Once I figure out serious publishers of PD books, I try to stick with them.

I am also a publisher of public domain books but, I think, not what you are looking for. I try to position myself as the "high quality" publisher whose publications are superior to the vast majority of PD publications on Amazon in order to win customer loyalty and their repeat business.

Last edited by osnova; 12-06-2010 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeppo View Post
I am looking for translations to English (primarily from French and Russian, but also German, and definitely Cervantes.)

Almost all of what I want to read is now in public domain.

For starters...

War and Peace
The Count of Monte Cristo
Don Quixote
I'm sure you know this, but it's perhaps as well to point out that the copyright status of a translation is entirely independent of that of the original work, so the fact that an original is PD says nothing about the copyright status of the translation.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:57 AM   #6
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to clarify, perhaps, the works in which I am interested are in the public domain, but I don't mind paying for them for a good publication. The problem I find of the translation being a "surprise" (that is, you never know what you are going to get it seems) is a problem that i am finding whether it is free or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osnova View Post

Well, the nature of the Public Domain is that anybody can take it and do with it whatever they want, including publishing/selling it for profit. For example, I searched for War and Peace by Tolstoy in the Kindle Store and found 94 results from the free ASIN B002RKRUPE to 3-volume set each of which costs almost $50 (ASIN B003N18Y7E).
and using your above example, I can find the latter with a search on Amazon and to my point above, there is no mention of what translation it is. This is the frustration I am talking about.

So my post is to see if this is as good as it gets. This is not so much a problem with printed books.

Last edited by Jellby; 12-07-2010 at 12:47 PM. Reason: Fixed markup
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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I've just heard a report that if you post a foreign literature book for publication on Amazon, Amazon will not post it unless the translator is specified. It seems that have heard your frustration. But still, lots of PD books are nothing more than quick OCR jobs without proofreading or formatting. Be careful with those.
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