The Maniac Collector's Inbox
International Rape and Pillage
There is a publisher in Laos, Big Brother Mouse, who is doing a great service to their country. They are publishing cheap books and providing them to children throughout the country. After visiting their website http://www.bigbrothermouse.com one will find that they have publisher two Sherlock Holmes books. Both are bilingual with one page being English and the facing page in Lao. The Man Who Disappeared and The Red-Headed Club and Other Stories are available and a Lao only edition The Red-Headed Club and Other Stories is in the works. This is great news for the foreign language collectors of the Canon.
I sent Big Brother Mouse an email requesting five copies of each book. This is where the fun begins. The response I got was that they were not able to process small financial transactions from outside of Laos. If I wanted to send two thousand dollars to sponsor a book, they could accept that amount. Hmmm. They did however leave the door open by also saying they might be able to receive money from PayPal in a few month, so please check back with them. This was December 2008. So I figured March fell under the 'few month later' category and sent them another order request. I received the same response as the December message 'Check back later.'
Big Brother Mouse is located in Luang Prabang, Laos so I decided I would change tactics. I searched Google and found the Luang Prabang Hotel Association. Lee Sheridan is an ex-patriot Britain who lives in Laos and is a consultant for the Luang Prabang Hotel Association. On the association's website, they list Big Brother Mouse as a place to visit while in Luang Prabang, so I emailed Mr. Sheridan explaining my dilemma and asked if there was anything he could do to help me. I figured an Englishman would understand since we were dealing with Sherlock Holmes. The next morning I had an email from Big Brother Mouse accepting my order of five books apiece of the two available Sherlockian titles.
The books are $2.00 each for a total of $20.00, far so good. Now the International rape and pillage part. Shipping to the United States from Laos $40.00 then tack on another $30.00 surcharge for wire transfer on the Laotian end and then there would be the $45.00 charge from my bank for an International wire transfer. This brings the total to $135.00 or $13.50 per each $2.00 book. Rather than sit back like the dog in the nighttime, I decided to appeal once again to Mr. Sheridan. It only costs $4.00 for wire transfers within Laos and this would bring the total down to $64.00, a much better price.
Alas, Mr. Sheridan will not able to help me. It looks like I will have to become the victim in this scheme of International rape and pillage. Such is the life of an International Man of Mystery (a.k.a. Foreign Language Collector of the Canon). Yeah baby.
Past 2009 Columns