Saturday, February 19, 2011

US Only Competitions - A Whine.

I saw a link to a book competition the other week which sounded very cool. Until I saw the US only bit. How stink was that? I think US only competitions are a bit rubbish and it's an issue worthy of a bit of discussion.

The economy, postage costs etc, I get it. It's not that great out there. And apparently there is some new safety postage cost that makes it even worse. But seriously? Tell me about postage! Getting books into NZ, that aren't sold here, can cost a small fortune. Our dollar is worth a little less that the US, but it can still cost me up to 30$ or more to get a new paperback. (Which is why the Book Depository has been a godsend, but it doesn't always have everything!)

US only competitions are not a new thing either, this has been going on for a donkeys age, not just the last few years since the global downturn. But, either way, I really do think it's a little stink. Are fans outside the US a little less important? Or is it that US readers are have more influence when recommending books to others, or is it simply that the cost is too great for some authors? Personally, I don't get it.
Any thoughts?


Chris said...

I'm glad I mostly have ebook contests, so don't have to deal with the unfairness so much.

Did you see that the contest for a print copy of "Catch Me If You Dare" at my place is open internationally? (It's a blur to me who's entered and who hasn't, so....)

Jamie D. said...

I'm pretty sure it's due to companies not being able to spend the money to ensure they're in compliance with all contest rules in all countries. If someone outside the US complains that a contest didn't follow that country's rules, can you imagine the legal nightmare that would ensue?

I'm pretty sure that's the reason, though I'm only going off a few things I've read here and there on company web sites. Makes sense though, even though it sucks.

Sarah said...

Chris, I think having ebooks as prizes is a total win!

Sarah said...

I don't know if it is Jamie. I've won one contest via Pamela Clare a few years ago and there didn't seem to be a problem there.
It does blow, I totally agree!

lisabea said...

I've opened most of my contests internationally. Of course, I don't host many so it's not breaking the bank to send a book here and there to France or Australia.

Which reminds me that I have to mail something on Monday.



Helen said...

I'm from Australia so I have the same problem. I was actually talking to an Australian author friend today about this very subject. It irks me no end that US authors are very happy to accept the royalties generated by sales of both ebooks and print books to international buyers, but should one of those loyal international buyers even consider themselves worthy of the author spending $10 - $12 on postage is totally laughable. It seems that spending that vast amount of money on the rare occasions an international reader actually wins would send the author bankrupt. It happens so often these days that I just refuse to buy any books, ebook or print, by those authors anymore. I'd rather give my money to authors who treat all their readers fairly.

Tam said...

I agree and I'm only in Canada. Sure it costs a bit more to send overseas but unless you are running 5 contests a week is $5 more going to make or break you? If so then maybe you shouldn't be running contests. It seems like a slap in the face for fans/interested readers outside of the US. I'm sure authors don't think of it that way, but that's how it comes across anyway.

StacieDM said...

I think there can always be alternative prizes for non-US winners whether an ebook or a giftcard. Those can be sent via email with less effort than sending a book to a US address. When a blogger or author is supplying the prize there are usually alternative prizes. When a publisher supplies them they usually stick with print books mailed to US addresses.

Sarah said...

I think there are definitely a few authors out there LB that do and I think that is just super cool.

Ingrid said...

Re the compliance rules etc.

It is a book contest! Not a million dollar game show. If that was the reason to be strictly US it would be laughable.

If those authors realise that their books are much more expensive here (Netherlands) then in the US, they should send me a gift every time I bought a print book.

Long live the e-book!

Keira Gillett said...

I do what the publisher/author wants to make it easier on them.

But I'm not always US or US/CAN. Right now I have an international giveaway contest for The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean going on - spread the word! :D

LesleyW said...

I find it a little disheartening when giveaways are US only. Especially if it's a book I would love to win. But I appreciate that postage is not cheap.

When I do giveaways on my blog, I'll post pretty much anywhere. But I'm not doing it every week.

As for competitions run by publishers - that could come down to copyright, with different publishers in different countries.

Eva said...

As someone from outside the US I find it frustrating that so many contests are limited to the US.
Since it's simply a book contest I don't think it has much to do with contest rules compliance.
Also if the publishers are using the excuse of copyright since I can buy that same book at The Book Depository (not postage) or on Amazon (costs quite a bit, especially if I don't want to wait for a month to get it) and they ship it to me without problems or questions.
The only excuse I can sort of understand is when the giveaway's for an ARC copy and it's limited to the U.S.
That's why I like ebook giveaways.
Though to be fair there are sites/bloggers/authors that open their contest internationally for print books and the first time I found one was a revelation. Now if only I'd get lucky and actually win something. But that's a different whine altogether.

Monica Burns said...

I use The Book Depository. I buy the book (sale for me) and I shipp for free the book to the winner.Its a win win scenario

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, plenty of food for thought!


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