Fortunately, a user with a teddy-bear avatar cleared things up:
se16teddy: I don’t associate the paisley pattern with cucumbers at all. I suppose it must be the colour: it is quite common to describe colours in terms of a familiar fruit (orange, peach, plum, apple, aubergine, …)In another post, AlexanderIII cited a passage in which I described my protagonist waking up with his “hair askew, eyes puffy with sleep.” Did “hair askew” refer to a particular hairstyle, he wanted to know, or did the character just have bed head? A user with the handle Copyright—the irony of which I did not yet appreciate—assured him that sleep was to blame.
At first, I didn’t realize that AlexanderIII was translating the book; I thought he was just a fastidious Russian reader with a loose command of the English language. It was fun to see people debating the meanings of my thoroughly worked-over phrases.
After a few days, a member going by DocPenfro encouraged AlexanderIII to simply enjoy the book and not fret over all the details. AlexanderIII responded, “I’d love to, DocPenfro, but I’m translating it for a publisher so I must be sure.”
Holy crap, I thought, my book is going to be published in Russia! Then I remembered that no Russian publisher had acquired the rights, and realized that AlexanderIII must be translating it for some kind of book-pirating outfit.
In the U.S., book piracy is a growing problem. But Russia, I learned, has a remarkably mature black market for literature—particularly for ebooks, no doubt in part because the overhead is so low. Pirated books reportedly compose up to 90 percent of Russian ebook downloads. According to Rospechat, the state agency that regulates mass media, Russians have access to more than 100,000 pirated titles and just 60,000 legitimate titles, with illegal downloads costing legitimate vendors several billion rubles a year.
Of course, I wish one of Russia’s two major ebook publishers had given me a couple thousand dollars for the rights, but neither did. Like many novelists I know, I’m just happy to have people reading my work, whether they’re paying me for it or not. I’m also heartened that Russians care enough about reading to sustain a robust literary black market. In the U.S., you get the feeling that hardly anyone is creating pirated ebooks because—well, who’d buy such a thing?
Full essay at The Atlantic