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Frustration with Geographic Restrictions and E-Book stores in general
#1  KevinH 03-04-2010, 02:22 PM
I am beginning to think that geographic restrictions make no sense when applied to e-books. They obviously do not apply for print books. I have never been turned down buying a book in stock at any book store in any airport or country in which I have visited.

So here is my rant about current e-book stores and publishers ...

I recently found Steven Erikson's work (fantasy - but not children's) and started to read his main series. I liked them. I was able to find books 1 and 2 via Amazon (in Kindle format).

I live in Canada (and so for that matter does the author Steven Erikson!). Unfortunately trying to buy his third book in any e-book format in Canada is next to impossible.

Amazon has Kindle format e-books of all his books available for US residents but only books 1 and 2 to Canadians (up until the most recent).

So I tried EReader and Barnes and Noble - no luck

I next tried Stanza - Fictionwise and again no luck.

Our big book chain in Canada is Indigo/Chapters. They point you to the Kobos site for e-books, and again no luck there at all. If you ask them in the store about e-books they look like you are crazy.

I tried the Sony Online bookstore and again a few of his works but not the one I was looking for.

I tried manybooks.net. I tried every damn ebook store that I could find. But living in Canada has made it next to impossible.

No luck.

Finally went to Waterstone's in the UK and was able to buy the book (a bit more expensive given the price in Pounds) but ...

Have e-book stores missed the whole point?!?

Why are they not "stocking" the entire series from an author when the marginal cost of carrying that "additional inventory" is 0?

Why are they not creating e-book versions of the previously popular (high selling) but out-of-print works?

Why limit anything based on where your internet connection or credit-card is based? No print book-store does it?

Why are they charging more than the current paperback prices for the books that are out in paperback or even older than that?

Why are they pricing books in Canada based on out-of-date exchange rates just because it is printed on the cover of the printed book?

I want to buy e-books and the bookstores and the publishers are going out of their way to make it difficult!!!!!!!!!

There is a huge market opportunity for the first good international e-book store that understands this and makes it easy to find books, buy books, etc without all of the stupidity in the current system - sad really.

End of rant
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#2  asjogren 03-04-2010, 02:59 PM
If countries continue to push the copyright privilege to absurdities and publishers continue to control the market, perhaps some "rogue" country will take advantage and create their own media eBusiness.

Kind of like some small island nations and taxation. Or certain small countries and banking.

In the meantime, perhaps you can become a "temporary" US resident with a fake address, a VPN, and a prepaid credit card.

They just don't want your money! They would rather have control. Sick!
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#3  tench 03-04-2010, 03:04 PM
I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer your many questions, but if you search through the forum I think you may find that a lot of them have been discussed thoroughly in the past.
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#4  Shaggy 03-04-2010, 03:15 PM
Quote KevinH
I am beginning to think that geographic restrictions make no sense when applied to e-books.
No they don't, but they're not really meant to benefit consumers.
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#5  clockworkzombie 03-04-2010, 05:05 PM
I have purchased two books from Fictionwise in the last year. The other titles were all region locked. I attempted to buy about 20 books from them. I may have bought more if it were possible to do so.

Edit

I have been buying from the Baen Books ebook section http://www.webscription.net/ and could not be happier.
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#6  MrBlueSky 03-04-2010, 05:29 PM
KevinH, now you know why file-sharing is such an attractive alternative.

All nine of Steven Erikson's series (plus the three satellite novels by Ian C. Esslemont) are readily available, and extremely well formatted in HTML, over all the usual (nn-standard) networks with no DRM, no geographical restrictions and (mostly) through an easy one-click download method.

You sir, have jumped through a hell of a lot more hoops that I am willing to jump through in an effort to PAY Mr. Erickson to read his books -- and he is one of the very few authors I'd willingly go out of my way to to do THAT for.

I don't care about their politics, their business reasons or their monopoly practices as being reasons for all this restrictive nonsense -- I just want to read his goddam books. If they don't want me to pay for the 'privilege' of doing so, that's fine by me -- I can find plenty of other stuff to spend my money on.

And no, before anybody jumps in with the usual excuses, justifications and rationals against file-sharing, I am not going to 'go without' simply because of their sheer incompetence in serving A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER.

Their loss, not mine.
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#7  Erina 03-04-2010, 06:51 PM
Correct me if I am wrong ( and I know this is very simplictic ) but the author signs a publishing deal with the publisher - in some cases its worldwide with one large publisher in which case the eBook version is usually available worldwide OR the publisher is local. At that point it depends on the contract and whether the book is popular. If the book takes off either the author or the publisher will look to sign a deal in other countries with sometimes different publishers in each country. So the Europe publisher wants to protect his rights and makes sure the US publisher cant sell outside the US.
The author just wants his book sold everywhere someone wants to buy it. The publishers are just protecting their business rights.
What we need is some way of all authors being able to publish worldwide - but I have no idea how to do that. A worldwide economy is a dream ( nightmare? ) that is much more involved than just eBooks.
Until then, if its not available in your location, tell the author he is missing a sale. Or do what ever you have to do to get the book you want.
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#8  sabredog 03-04-2010, 08:22 PM
I have all the same problems. Hopefully sense will prevail and Publishers will realise their customer base might increase if GR was abolished, put to bed and forgotten about. But I will not hold my breath over that hope.

Personally it is pretty bad when ebookstores proudly advertise their store sells internationally when most of their inventory is unavailable to international customers.
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#9  K-Thom 03-04-2010, 08:30 PM
Simple: get rid of publishers. Or rely only on those who are willing to serve both customers and authors.

There is no reason at all why a publisher in the US couldn't licence the printing rights to any regional publisher worldwide but still retain the rights to publish the books in English worldwide.
That's so silly.
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#10  Erina 03-04-2010, 08:36 PM
The US publisher may not have the UK / Europe printing rights ( each contract is different ) and / or the US wont pay advertising / promotions expenses in foreign countries. The core problem is we dont have a world wide economic system but a collection of national systems.
Cant see it happening any decade soon either.
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