Skip Navigation

Text Only/ Printer-Friendly

American Books in German Editions

by Anna Katharine Green

To the Editors of The Critic:—

I paid my German publisher a visit recently, and learned a few facts which may prove to be of interest to my fellow authors whose work finds its way into German print. We are apt to think that the sturdy German is slow to avail himself of the benefits to be derived from appropriating another’s property, but this is a mistake so far as some publishers are concerned. Recently a new paper was started in Berlin. They honored me by using ‘The Leavenworth Case.’ My other books are similarly honored, periodically. At present, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is appearing in an Austrian daily.

The Critic has given so much labor toward holding up to its readers the necessity for securing International Copyright, that you may think it well to consider Germany and Austria in the matter. Mr. Robert Lutz of Stuttgart has published translations of many American books. Having paid for the right to do so, it is natural for him to consider his translations his own property. The newspaper publishers do not choose to look at the matter in this light, and boldly appropriate the books. If they are requested to stop, they advise him to cease paying for rights which he cannot protect. I would therefore suggest to American and English authors, who purpose publishing in Germany and Austria, that they send their MSS. to their respective publishers long in advance of either the English or American publications. By this means the German publishers can control both serial and book publication, and so prevent their theft.

There are translators here who boast of having more direct relations with American and English publishers than is benefivial to authors. This I believe to be absolutely false so far as the publishers are concerned; but when I find that my book are published by the papers here sooner than by my authorized publisher, it seem necessary to exercise some care, for stories so printed could only be secured by obtaining possession of stolen proofsheets, or from hastily made translations of English editions which are not apt to enhance and author’s reputation. I state these facts on the authority of Mr. Lutz.

Anna Katharine Green
Korbmatfelsenhof, Black Forest, Aug. 31, 1890