15 January 2013
Editing English ebooks for worldwide market

Should I release an Australian and an American English version of my ebook?

I was recently asked by one of my new customers "Is there a difference in editing style for the American market such as typically Australian words, phrases or humour that may be in the book?" My answer:

Yes there are differences and if you want a primarily Australian or a purely American version of the book, AeP editors are skilled to deliver this for you during the editing. As far as I’m aware, though, most publishers/authors do not release multiple versions of their ebook just to satisfy these differences. That would essentially double the production cost, and for what? There are no consequences to releasing an Australian-English/Culture book into overseas markets, and vice versa.

If you find the book is doing very well, then you can create the American version, so that customers are better satisfied. But ultimately when it comes down to buying ebooks, nobody would know if it was Australian or American English when they bought it. As far as I’m aware, the online sellers do not distinguish between the two. It’s either English or not. So this question is really more about you and your business/marketing model. I am not in a position to advise you about that, but we can edit the book however you prefer.

There is a purist argument as well, for those who care about such things. For many years Australian readers have been subjected to cheap overseas imports and our children grow up on a diet of American-English novels, which makes it difficult for them to learn Australian English. Through habit most Australians write with American spelling and punctuation. From that point of view it is better for Australian authors and Australian books to try to produce a purely Australian English text.

For a handy list of Australian English equivalents of US spellings see http://www.australianebookpublisher.com.au/american-spelling-list.php

You may also be interested in our FAQ article "What’s the difference between AU English and US English?": http://www.australianebookpublisher.com.au/faq.php#AU

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