Why can’t Rosmei sell their English danmei books in North America?

Ever since publisher Rosmei began announcing English danmei licenses, there’s been a lot of confusion regarding why they won’t be making their books available to readers in North America or Europe. So why is it that a book in English wouldn’t be sold in many major English-reading countries?

In a tweet reply, Rosmei explains that this is due to the rightsholder—in this case, the web publishing platform, JJWXC—only authorizing publishing rights within Singapore. This allows JJWXC to potentially sell the same license to different publishers in various countries; for example, the USA and UK. This effectively means that it is possible for two or more English versions of the same danmei title to exist.

For further industry context: this would be something determined by JJWXC and Rosmei during the licensing process, and was likely a decision made by Rosmei for more affordable licensing fees and the belief they could recoup the costs regardless of the limited distribution.

Because Rosmei is legally only permitted to sell their books in Singapore—or additionally Malaysia for some—to sell them directly elsewhere would constitute a breach of contract. The regions in which a publisher is permitted to sell a licensed product are a major part of licensing deals.

It ultimately means that it’s much less likely or maybe near impossible that you’ll find these books in stores if you live outside their licensed regions or on major retail sites like Amazon, unless they’ve been put there without the publisher’s consent (such as by third-party sellers). That, however, rarely stops fans—and sometimes even publishers—from figuring out ways to circumvent the limitation, such as by making their purchases through proxies or group orders.

We’ll see what happens when the first Rosmei English danmei book, How to Survive as a Villain, comes out in Winter 2023.