Mobileread
Frustration with Geographic Restrictions and E-Book stores in general
#11  HansTWN 03-04-2010, 07:40 PM
This has been discussed at lengths in various threads. There are numerous reasons for why we have these restrictions, including tax laws and trade matters. But while I can understand such restrictions for customers from other countries where a distribution contract for an English version exists it makes no sense for such countries where they have no distribution at all or only foreign language versions.

Obviously printed books are different. When you buy a printed book in the US and have it sent overseas you will definitely pay a lot more than buying even a much more expensive version in your own country, since you have to shell out for shipping and, perhaps, taxes. So nobody cares if US sellers sell physical books to foreign customers.

Newcomers can search for old threads on this. Fortunately we can easily circumvent these restrictions, and I am glad to try to help anyone who contacts me by PM. Please do not discuss actual workarounds in the forums, we don't want the loopholes to be closed.

Regional restrictions exist for many things, not just books. Try buying electronics in the US. A lot of ereaders are US only, or much cheaper in the US. The US is a giant market and Americans tend to be extremely price sensitive. Higher prices can be set in other countries. And producers/publishers do not want to be totally at the mercy of US sellers. Online people would naturally go to those sites with the lowest prices. How could sellers in countries with taxes for online transactions compete? Who would promote the books locally?

I can easily imagine a scenario where brick and mortar bookstores in Australia, Canada, the UK and other countries would "punish" a publisher by not carrying their pbooks anymore because that publisher is giving US sellers worldwide ebook rights.
Reply 

#12  K-Thom 03-04-2010, 08:05 PM
Quote
I can easily imagine a scenario where brick and mortar bookstores in Australia, Canada, the UK and other countries would "punish" a publisher by not carrying their pbooks anymore because that publisher is giving US sellers worldwide ebook rights.
Bookstores? Do they still exist? That's so 20th centuryish ... kinda quaint, though.
Reply 

#13  Kali Yuga 03-04-2010, 08:28 PM
Quote KevinH
I am beginning to think that geographic restrictions make no sense when applied to e-books.
They do, it's just unfortunate that they are getting in the way of a consumer like yourself.

• Different nations have different sales tax policies; e.g. the UK and EU have VAT, the US does not. There is no international clearing-house for sales taxes.
• Curent region restrictions are based on the contracts between the publisher and the author. The publisher is limited by that contract.
• Authors do want to sell books, but they don't necessarily want to turn over all international rights to one regional publisher. (E.g. Bloomsbury UK may not have been the ideal company to sell Harry Potter exclusively around the world.)
• Contracts, and other issues like tax collections, do not become null and void just because 5 years ago, someone figured out how to easily distribute content internationally.
• A US publisher is unlikely to have the expertise required to really sell an international edition -- e.g. translations, local marketing, navigating local laws, setting the title up at prominent local retailers, getting the book reviewed and so forth. As usual, people imagine that publishers spend 90% of their time smoking cigars and counting money, when they are actually expending all kinds of resources to get books sold.

I've noticed that lots of MR readers throw a fit when a publisher does something they don't think fits the contract such as proclaim they hold ebook rights when it wasn't specified in the contract -- but then turn right around and blast publishers for actually abiding by the contracts, by not violating the stipulations to sell outside their region. Go figure....



Quote KevinH
Why are they not "stocking" the entire series from an author when the marginal cost of carrying that "additional inventory" is 0?
• Because the cost is not zero. It can cost quite a bit of money to convert a book into epub, mobi or other formats.
• Because ebooks, for all the hype, still constitute 3-5% of sales (possibly less, internationally)
• Because rights over electronic editions are not always clear-cut. It's explicitly addressed in more recent contracts, but not always in older agreements.
• In the US alone, around 250k new books are published each year; somewhere around 45k of those are fiction. If the publishers wanted to just convert all new fiction books from the last 10 years, that alone hits close to half a million books. And obviously, priority is going to the new books, which have much stronger sales than back catalog titles.


Quote KevinH
Why are they charging more than the current paperback prices for the books that are out in paperback or even older than that?
That's relatively rare. Also, it really doesn't cost a lot less to make a paper edition than an ebook edition -- maybe 15%.


Quote KevinH
I want to buy e-books and the bookstores and the publishers are going out of their way to make it difficult!!!!!!!!!
Again, your frustration is understandable, but you really ought to calm down. Ebooks are just getting started, and there are millions upon millions of books that need to be converted, lots of legal issues to be sorted out, and both publisher and author resources are finite. Contracts, international law, authors, publishers, retailers, and society at large do not perform 180º turns the second you bought your ebook reader.
Reply 

#14  HansTWN 03-04-2010, 09:13 PM
Quote K-Thom
Bookstores? Do they still exist? That's so 20th centuryish ... kinda quaint, though.
We still have all those pbook sniffers around, haven't you noticed? The aroma of the glue, maybe they have a special recipe? Some addictive drugs, perhaps?
Reply 

#15  HansTWN 03-04-2010, 09:19 PM
Quote Kali Yuga
Again, your frustration is understandable, but you really ought to calm down. Ebooks are just getting started, and there are millions upon millions of books that need to be converted, lots of legal issues to be sorted out, and both publisher and author resources are finite. Contracts, international law, authors, publishers, retailers, and society at large do not perform 180º turns the second you bought your ebook reader.
Yes, and with the help of other people on this forum you can get your books now with a few tricks while we all wait for this whole mess to be sorted out.
Reply 

#16  Blue Tyson 03-04-2010, 11:54 PM
Kali,

We've also seen people in the publishing industry throw more than a few fits when people download stuff even when they can't actually buy it, too. ;-)
Reply 

#17  drplokta 03-05-2010, 02:52 AM
The only fix for this problem is a change in the law, but luckily it's an easy change in the law. Regional rights for a book must mean the right to sell the book from a server located in the region, not to a customer located in the region, the same as it is for paper books. Problem solved.
Reply 

#18  Nakor 03-05-2010, 02:57 AM
Think of the chain effects of that.

International licences will lose a lot of their value if the international publishers cannot get exclusive rights to publish ebooks in their region. For that matter it means local publishers can't either -- the only way to get exclusive local rights to publish the ebook at all would be to get worldwide exclusive rights for publishing the ebook. One of two things happens:

1) The local publisher signs for those exclusive worldwide ebook rights in addition to exclusive local physical distribution, but as they don't really have the expertise to advertise internationally, refuse to pay more (or much more) than they would have for local exclusive rights. (After all, their primary interest is physical sales -- they're not going to up their price for the tiny percentage of sales international ebook sales would accrue.) Because international publishers can now not get ebook rights at all, they may not be willing to pay as much.

2) The local publisher does not get exclusive ebook rights worldwide. As they are now losing the exclusivity that they had on local ebooks (because an international publisher who also gets ebook rights can distribute in their region), their price drops.

That's a rather loose explaination, but that's where the problem lies. I'm sure there's a solution somewhere, but I'm also sure I don't know it.
Reply 

#19  fastesthamster 03-05-2010, 04:24 AM
Quote Kali Yuga
Quote
Why are they not "stocking" the entire series from an author when the marginal cost of carrying that "additional inventory" is 0?
• Because the cost is not zero. It can cost quite a bit of money to convert a book into epub, mobi or other formats.
[CITATION NEEDED]

I think that's bull.
Reply 

#20  K-Thom 03-05-2010, 06:47 AM
Quote
International licences will lose a lot of their value if the international publishers cannot get exclusive rights to publish ebooks in their region.
Thats fine with me as long as we are talking about a localized language conversion. But there is no reason why I as a German reader am not allowed to buy an English edition from a US-publisher.

The German publisher won't lose any sales simply because he doesn't offer the English eBook version. Neither the printed one, btw.

Quote
I think that's bull.
If you're referring to the costs of converting books into eBooks: I've earned money that way. I've paid money that way. That means it does indeed cause some costs.
Reply 

 « First  « Prev Next »  Last »  (2/6)
Today's Posts | Search this Thread | Login | Register