Miscellaneous Notes

Colin Smythe


This site contains all the publications connected with Terry Pratchett’s novels and shorter writings issued to date that are known to me, with ISBNs, publishers’ own reference numbers, publication dates and, where known, numbers of copies in each first printing (and occasionally listings of reprints), as well as print quantities of the only true rarities now, the bound book proofs, of which there were often no more than 200. I stress that the print quantities given are only those of the first printings, and in no way represent the total sales to date of the editions concerned. For example, the first Corgi printing of The Colour of Magic was 26,000 copies, but their total sales of this title exceed 1.75 million. There may have been some pirated publications that I have yet to discover: certainly there exist pirated versions of the computer games that were manufactured in the Far East. I have also included details of Terry’s short stories, videos, audio-tapes, maps, games, jigsaws, calendars, diaries, and fanzines. Thanks to the help from the overseas publishers, the information I have been able to give is in many cases considerable, much more than I expected to get hold of when I started my checklist something twenty-five years ago. I hope in due course to fill in the remaining gaps.

In many European countries death is feminine, a complication that most early translators did not bother to mention to Terry, in spite of contracts requiring ‘faithful and accurate’ translations, so Ysabell’s ‘father’ was initially ‘Mama’ in a number of languages. There was no problem with the Spanish, and other, wiser translators who kept him as a male, but other editions had to be changed, in one case in the middle of production.  This mistake was not so important in the first three novels where Death was only a walk-on part, but by Mort, there was a problem. Fortunately no-one tried switching Death’s gender in Reaper Man. Discworld’s Death is male, regardless of what sex he/she is on Roundworld.

BCA (Book Club Associates) initially sold copies of the standard Discworld editions with the price cut off the jackets. As the series became more popular, there were special printings, originally produced by Gollancz for BCA, that were identical with the trade editions except for the absence of the Gollancz imprint, and, starting with Men at Arms, produced in a smaller format by BCA (19.7 x 12.8cm – 7¾”x 5”), with their imprint and reference number, but no ISBN. These were normally issued three, four or six months after publication of the trade edition.

As with BCA’s editions, the American Science Fiction Book Club’s copies do not have their own ISBNs, but they normally include one on the title verso, which may be that of the US paperback or, before the Harper editions, of the Gollancz edition, or in the lone case of The Light Fantastic, Colin Smythe Ltd’s as we licensed it, while the Club’s own reference number appears in the bottom right hand corner of the back cover, nowhere else. Apart from The Colour of Magic, and until the Discworld novels started being published by HarperCollins in 1994, the only American hardcover editions of the early Discworld titles were those issued by the SF Book Club.[1] Not only for these but for some of the HarperCollins published titles, the Club used their own artists to produce the cover illustrations. As it is not their policy to give the printing history on the title versos of their club editions, the collector has no idea whether the copy in their hand is from the first or a later printing; however, I think they have a general rule to use a superior quality binding for the first one, which will have a different material used on the spine, and be blocked in gold. The reprints just have paper-covered boards with colour printed spine lettering, but the jackets remain the same as on the first printing. The entries normally give the date the books were listed as Selections, and it was usual for the book to arrive from the printers some weeks before. Where still known to the Book Club when I got round to asking them, these dates have been given. Unfortunately, such information for out-of-print books is no longer available.

Japanese publishers often seem to give the name of their company presidents before the company on their copyright pages so I have added them to this list and show them as, for example, ‘H.Kawaguchi/Sanyusha’. There are two markets in the Chinese language, not just because of the political differences between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of [mainland] China: Chinese simplified characters are used in the People’s Republic for all books, but only for children’s books in Taiwan. (There were also two different markets in the Portuguese speaking areas – European Portuguese and Brazilian – but an agreement has now been signed intended to create uniformity.)[2]

For many years a number of European publishers, including the Spanish Debols!llo (an imprint of Penguin RandomHouse) would refer to each of their reprints as editions, but recently they finally took to calling their new printings reprints, as in fact they are. This has resulted in information changes on their copyright pages: for example, their May 2015 printing of Moving PicturesImágenes en Acción – is described as the first reprint of their seventh edition, whereas under the old system it would have been called the eighth edition. Similar methods of providing printing information will now be found in their other titles, obviously the result of instructions received from on high.

The German publisher Heyne had two paperback series that used their own numbering system apart from ISBNs: the Fantasy series which had an 06 prefix, and the the general ‘Allgemeine Reihe’ series with a prefix 01. Terry’s books were first published in the 06 series, but some later appeared in the 01 series. The quantity of a title bought by a bookseller is influenced by the series in which it appears as on that basis they make an educated guess as to how many they are likely to sell. I’m not sure of the present situation.

I do not know the present situation, but in the mid-1990s few of Terry’s books turned up on the second-hand market in Germany. Robert Schekulin of the UFO Buchhandlung in Freiburg wrote to me about this when I had been looking for a copy of the first German edition of The Carpet People,: ‘a curious thing, by the way. In the genre of fantasy, which is the absolutely bestselling one in our bookshop (specializing in SF, horror, fantasy and crime fiction), TP is the top of the top, our absolutely bestselling author, much better than Tolkien, very much better than all the rest . . . but we nearly never ever get TP’s books back from readers to sell them second hand! No chance! That means, all those readers keep their books, all those readers are real fans! (Sorry, I’m no fan, may be just not yet, and I can only shake my head in astonishment).’ (This was before Harry Potter had arrived on the scene, of course. The world changed then, but I suspect that Terry’s fans still hoarded their copies of his books.)

Many people are puzzled as to why Josh Kirby’s picture credit on some translations is given as Ron Kirby. This is for copyright purposes, as Josh’s real name was Ronald William Kirby. The name by which most of his fans knew him developed from a fellow student at art school saying he painted like Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Later printings of novels may change the design or typography on the cover, but only major variations in the former are noted here.  Sometimes the entire jacket or cover artwork, not just the illustration, is credited to one person, particularly with the HarperCollins editions, and I have indicated this. With Josh’s death, Paul Kidby has produced most of the illustrations for the new Discworld books, while David Wyatt and others have been producing those for young readers.

Second-hand copies of some Gollancz UK hardcovers of the time can be found with a rubber stamp on the title page – I’ve seen ‘CASSELL’ and ‘CASSELL PLC’ – and this indicates that the book had been returned to the publishers for credit. This may or may not mean that the book was faulty or damaged, but was stamped to ensure that having been sold off cheaply by the publisher it could not be returned to them again as a faulty copy by an unscrupulous bookseller who’d bought it elsewhere at a fraction of the original price. It was quite possible that booksellers themselves didn’t know this, particularly in the branches of W.H.Smith and Waterstones, for example, where I know that copies marked thus were bought.

During the time that Victor Gollancz was the principal publisher of Terry’s books, it had a number of owners. When Terry first signed up, Victor’s daughter Livia was still in charge. In 1989 the company was sold to the American company Houghton Mifflin, during which time there was considerable concern in Gollancz that Terry’s books and probably those of other authors would be removed from the company, so I arranged for Gollancz and Terry to sign an addendum by which the publisher undertook not to assign any rights, benefits or obligations to any third party without Terry’s written consent. This would have been extremely costly, and evidently this poisoned chalice caused the new owners to have second thoughts. In October 1992 Gollancz was bought by Cassells, during which time what was either a shortage of operating capital, or lack of confidence by management, meant that print-runs were usually much smaller than needed, and a number of titles required reprints before their publication dates. In the case of The Pratchett Portfolio (1996) stock had sold out before the reprint was available, and there was a period in which would-be purchasers were extremely frustrated.

Australian signing tours, however, were the underlying cause of Terry’s move to Transworld (whose imprint Corgi had always published the Discworld paperbacks, at Terry’s insistence). Under Australian copyright law books had to be published in Australia within thirty days [now forteen days, I gather] of their first publication elsewhere in the world, otherwise Australia becomes an open market for any edition of a book wherever it is published. As Australia is traditionally part of the British publishers’ territory, it is essential that this law is complied with to prevent American imports from flooding the market. Cassell’s policy was to fly in the minimum quantity necessary to comply with this legislation, the rest being shipped in to arrive some time later. Inevitably, these first copies had long sold out before Terry’s arrival for the signing tour, so to his intense embarrassment and anger he found there were no copies in Australian shops for him to sign, the rest of the stock still being on the high seas. Further copies were flown in. Warnings were given, and we received a firm undertaking that it would never happen again, so when it did, on his next Australian tour, for Hogfather, Terry’s patience snapped and his resolve to move from Gollancz to Transworld was unshakeable. Cassell sold Gollancz to Orion in December 1998, and under Malcolm Edwards, who had returned to Gollancz as managing director the company was transformed. Had Malcolm been captain of the Good Ship Gollancz at the time, things would have been very different. (Orion is now part of Hachette UK.)

In the USA, copies of books can be found with a felt-tip marker, biro or knife slash across the bottom of the pages. This indicates it was a remainder copy of some kind. It may have been a damaged/dirty copy, but it could equally well have been a perfect one that was part of the hardcover stock remaindered when the paperback edition was published, or in the case of a paperback when the publisher decided to dispose of the remaining stock.

As a matter of interest, I was told that HarperCollins’ policy regarding the embossing of the paperback covers was that there would be only one print-run of the embossed cover. At the same time as producing the first printing, extra stock would be kept for the reprints, and it would depend on the size of those later printings as to how soon the embossed covers ran out, or whether part of a reprint might have had embossed covers, and part not. I suspect the present situation is rather different now.

Some American publishers use the term ‘release date’ for the day the books are sent out to the shops for immediate sale, and ‘publication date’ as the press release date for news stories and reviews; others say a book is ‘released’ when they mean published: confusing. In the case of HarperCollins data, the release date is given on their royalty statements, while the publication month is given in the books themselves.  The dates given here are the publication dates, not those on which the books went on sale, which may be a month or two before. British publishers normally try to prevent copies being sold in the UK before the publication date, but with bestselling titles these attempts are normally doomed to failure unless the publishers ensure the books are only delivered late on the day before publication. On their warehouse paperwork Transworld now call publication date the ‘onsale date’.[3]

Apart from English, Terry’s books are now being or are to be published in forty languages (a couple have been contracted but not yet appeared): Brazilian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (mainland), Chinese (Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Welsh.

As the ten digit ISBNs were superseded by the 13 digit ones in 2008, and although both versions often appear in books, I have since then used the 13 digit versions, which used to be known as EANs (European Article Numbers).[4]

The information about the quantities of the first printings given in this list is the result of a lot of hard work by people working in the publishers concerned, some of whom have since retired or moved on to other companies, and I thank for their help Kirstie Addis (Gollancz), Jane Baird (Het Spectrum), Jennifer Brehl (William Morrow), Anke Dethleffsen (Heyne), Marta Higueras Diez (Santillana), Anne Hoppe (Clarion), Yoshi Iwasaki (Tuttle Mori Agency), Rolf Hajmark Jensen (Borgens), Krista Kaer (Varrak), Tizlana Lubich (Salani), Ian Manhire (Transworld – Doubleday and Corgi), Pierre Michaud (L’Atalante), Ingeborg Norshus (Tiden Norsk), Georg Reuchlein (Goldmann), Torancz Szponder (Rebis), and Vlastimír Talaš (Talpress), Joana Tomova (Prozoretz), Nikos Trantas (Patakis), Jana Vuzeva (Arkhont-V/Vuzev). Other helpers have been anonymous. I am particularly indebted to Kate Hordern and Deborah Brush for their help in obtaining information from the overseas publishers. I am grateful to Uwe Milde for his further information about German editions. Overseas publishers’ websites have improved in leaps and bounds and are now far advanced from what they were even a few years ago, so are always worth exploring.

Elsewhere I have thanked the Estate of Josh Kirby, Paul Kidby, and Marc Simonetti for most kindly allowing me to use their artwork as the backgrounds for these pages, but I think I should also express my appreciation here, just in case readers missed my other note. The images really have made a tremendous difference to the look of the site.

Much thanks too, to Rob Wilkins and Con Kondonis whose enthusiasm and hard work have made the present site what it is.

Rob also created the first version of this site in the 1990s, writing all the code and designing it from scratch. Where would I have been without his remarkable (but little-known) computing and programming genius?

Colin

August 2016


 

[1] For a history of the SF Book Club, see http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/index.php/Publisher:Science_Fiction_Book_Club

[2] The Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990 was designed to help unify the spelling of words between Brazil and the other Portuguese-speaking languages, but to date it has only been ratified by a few of its signatories. Among other things it adds the letters K, W and Y to the Portuguese alphabet.

[3] Information given on the pre-publication selling of The Truth may be of interest – see that entry.

[4] As ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number it is therefore incorrect to refer to it – as so many do – as an ‘ISBN number’. If people feel a desperate need to use the word ‘number’ then why not ‘ISB Number’? The same relates to the use of PIN [Personal Identification Number] numbers.