Novelist gets on board with Russian e-book pirate
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 4:35 PM ET
Last Updated: Nov 15, 2012 4:33 PM ET
After discovering his debut novel was being pirated for Russia's e-book market, author Peter Mountford made an unusual choice: he began assisting the man toiling away on the unauthorized translation.
Mountford released his book A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism in April 2011. Set in the world of international finance, the novel follows a young hedge fund employee sent to work in Bolivia amidst a presidential election in that country.
After buzz over the book had waned, the Seattle writer learned that an eager reader was flooding an online forum with specific queries about the novel.
"I was very flattered," Mountford told Jian Ghomeshi on CBC's Q cultural affairs show.
'The sad truth of being a writer now is that I'm just eager to have people read my work... If someone's going to be translating it, I might as well get a good translation out of it'—author Peter Mountford
"At some point, one of the other people in the forum said to him 'Why do you have to know everything that [the author]'s saying?' ... And he said 'I'm translating it for a Russian publisher.'"
However, Mountford hadn't sold publishing rights for the Russian market. Monitoring the forum, he realized how much trouble the translator — clearly not a professional — was having. So, he decided to reach out.
"I was sad to be taken out of the moneymaking process," the author acknowledged, "but at the same time, the sad truth of being a writer now is that I'm just eager to have people read my work... If someone's going to be translating it, I might as well get a good translation out of it."
Though Mountford's missive was first met with silence, the translator slowly came around. The pair have "worked together" on the translation for about five months. In the meantime, the author has also written about his situation for media outlets such as The Atlantic and The Guardian, and picked up interesting facts about Russia's rampant black market for e-books.
Mountford learned that since Russians are voracious readers, "they have a really thriving e-book market – not just for pirated books, but in general. In the last three years alone, e-book sales have increased three-fold in Russia," he said.
"Increasingly it's very hard to sell foreign rights in Russia because of the piracy issue. Even those books that are officially published in Russia have a great number of pirated versions as well, competing with them."
Mountford talked to Q about his strange relationship with the rogue Russian translator and why he, like hit writer Neil Gaiman, accepts book piracy in Russia.
- Blake Shelton, Toby Keith boost benefits for Oklahoma by Susan Noakes May. 23, 2013 4:07 PM There are no dates yet and no lineup, but plans are in the works for benefit concerts supporting Oklahoma and the town of Moore, where tornadoes left a swath of destruction this week. Stepping up to spearhead the fundraisers are two Oklahoma boys: Blake Shelton and Toby Keith, who will likely lure country music's brightest into their efforts.
Top News Headlines
- Greg Weston: Senate scandal may be Harper's worst hour
- The widening Senate scandal that the prime minister flippantly tried to dismiss as a 'distraction' just days ago has instead become arguably Stephen Harper's worst hour. more »
- Washington state bridge collapse injures 3
- A Washington state bridge over a river collapsed last night, dumping two vehicles into the water and sparking a rescue effort by boats and divers who searched the chilly waterway north of Seattle. more »
- 3D printers give rise to 'desktop manufacturing'
- Customizable objects from plastic dollhouse furniture to medical prosthetics can now be designed and printed out by almost anyone at the press of a button, and is going to lead to an 'explosion of new stuff,' predicts author Chris Anderson. more »
- Jet with smoking engine lands safely at Heathrow
- A British Airways jet made an emergency landing at London's Heathrow Airport Friday after developing a technical problem after takeoff. TV footage showed smoke streaming from one of the engines. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- K'naan tries his hand at filmmaking with Sundance workshop
- Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan has long drawn musical inspiration from his troubled homeland. Now he says he's ready to make a film about his war-torn roots. more »
- Amanda Bynes arrested for allegedly tossing bong out window
- Police say actress Amanda Bynes has been arrested in midtown Manhattan after she heaved a marijuana bong out of a window. more »
- Boos for violent Ryan Gosling film at Cannes
- The famously fickle Cannes audiences greeted Ryan Gosling's latest film, Only God Forgives, with boos, while Robert Redford received a standing ovation for All is Lost. more »
- Pussy Riot member denied parole despite Paul McCartney plea
- A Russian court has rejected parole for jailed Pussy Riot band member Maria Alekhina, despite a high-profile plea from former Beatle Paul McCartney and other top musicians. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 23, 2013 3:02 PM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- Juvenile inmates benefiting from Russian literature May. 23, 2013 4:21 PM A juvenile correctional facility in Virginia has seen the behavioural benefits of encouraging their inmates to read the works of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
- Rob Ford fired chief of staff for telling mayor to 'get help'
- 3 injured in Washington state bridge collapse
- Alleged Ford crack video seller not responding to calls
- Pickup truck backs up over mother, 2 children in tent
- Mike Duffy says he wants to give Canadians 'the whole story'
- Montreal lifts boil-water advisory
- Vancouver man abandons Porsche on B.C. ferry
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford fires chief of staff
- Federal Court won't remove MPs over robocall allegations