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View Poll Results: Would you circumvent geographical restrictions SOLELY to save money?
Yes 121 66.48%
No 50 27.47%
Other (explain in thread, please) 11 6.04%
Voters: 182. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-07-2013, 09:24 AM   #1
K. Molen
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The morality of circumventing geographical restrictions only to buy cheaper ebooks

With the launch of Amazon India I find myself wondering about the morality of circumventing geographical restrictions only to save money. With ebooks there's no shipping costs involved, so it'd be an easy thing to do and I wouldn't notice the difference in the end product. I'm personally perfectly fine with circumventing geographical restrictions to get access to an ebook that's not for sale in my location, but I'm not sure how I feel about doing it to get a better price.

On the one hand, it's still buying the book from a legal seller and the only thing that's making it a gray area is where I'm physically located. On the other hand, I'm denying authors some of their profits.

To illustrate what I'm talking about, the Kindle ebook for Margaret Atwood's latest, Maddaddam, is $17.49 on Amazon.com and $9.98 on Amazon.in, so if I were to buy this via Amazon India I'd effectively deny Atwood approximately 50% of her royalties on that sale. I say approximately 50% because the list price show an even bigger difference, and I think authors probably earn their royalties on that price.

In addition to the authors, I'm obviously also denying publishers some profit and possibly Amazon as well, although I'm less sure about the latter.

So yeah... thoughts?

[image: Pen Waggener via Flickr]

Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 09-07-2013 at 02:19 PM. Reason: moved to frontpage
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:27 AM   #2
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Why not ponder the morality of the vendor?

Just a knee jerk thought.

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Old 09-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #3
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There are two issues with your questions.

First, from your location, it would cost more money to ship from India than America.
Second, instead of asking whether it is moral for a consumer to buy from Amazon India, why not asking whether it is moral for Amazon India to charge so little for their books and therefore depriving 50% of the author's profits?

Last edited by Julius Caesar; 09-07-2013 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:34 AM   #4
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I think it depends on if it's paper or ebooks. Certainly everyone wants the best deal they can get for an ebook. Paper books are sometimes so cheaply priced that you already spend more on shipping than the actual book itself.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Given that this is MobileRead, I suspect that the question is really referring to ebooks.

I'm generally against artificial differences in prices around the world. I don't think it's immoral to import items from another country if it's cheaper to do so. Free trade is generally a good thing, leading to efficiencies in production benefitting everyone in the long run.

Having said that, personally I wouldn't usually do it because it's too much hassle.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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Personally, i'll rather give my money to people making the effort of not geo-restricting me.

Buying a book should be easy.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius Caesar View Post
There are two issues with your questions.

First, from your location, it would cost more money to ship from India than America.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
I think it depends on if it's paper or ebooks. Certainly everyone wants the best deal they can get for an ebook. Paper books are sometimes so cheaply priced that you already spend more on shipping than the actual book itself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Given that this is MobileRead, I suspect that the question is really referring to ebooks.
Sorry, I should've been more clear. I'm referring to ebooks, and the pricing example above is for the ebook. I've edited my post to clarify.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyhive
Why not ponder the morality of the vendor?

Just a knee jerk thought.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius Caesar View Post
Second, instead of asking whether it is moral for a consumer to buy from Amazon India, why not asking whether it is moral for Amazon India to charge so little for their books and therefore depriving 50% of the author's profits?
That's certainly a valid question, but not the one I'm asking. I cannot change the behaviour of a publisher, but I can change my own.

Last edited by K. Molen; 09-07-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EowynCarter View Post
Personally, i'll rather give my money to people making the effort of not geo-restricting me.

Buying a book should be easy.
Fair enough, but that doesn't really apply to this situation. The book is available to me, and I can easily buy it. If I'm willing to jump through a few hoops, I can save some money, but if not I can just buy it from my local vendor. So no effort has been made to restrict me.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:20 AM   #9
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Many times the 'morality' of purchasing products from other geographic locations for significantly less cost is based upon labor laws or the lack thereof...sweatshops, child labor, poor wages, etc. I do not see that applying to e-books. (Someone is bound to bring up piracy in this thread and that is a different question than what the OP asked)
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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I do not circumvent geo-restrictions to save money. I circumvent geo-restrictions to buy books that are not available in my geographical area, or that are published at a ridiculously later time. For example, The Resistance Man by Martin Walker was published in the UK one June 6, 2013, but will not be available in the US until February 25, 2014. I did not save any money buying from the UK. It is possible that I paid more, but, I got to read it over 8 months early. I also have many books that are not even available for sale in the US.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:39 AM   #11
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I frankly can't be arsed to jump the geo-restrictive fence for any reason. I'm too lazy. If I can't buy it loud 'n' proud with the I.P. address God (in conjunction with my ISP) assigned me and with a physical address I actually reside at, I'm not buying it. Period.

Morals, shmorals.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #12
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It takes me less than 5 minutes to set up an account in the UK.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:28 PM   #13
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Perhaps my example is only slightly related, but...

When you live in Switzerland, it's possible to order books from Amazon.de, where books are generally cheaper due to a favorable exchange rate. Not only that: Amazon.de automatically deducts German taxes from the total cost, shipping is free, and there are no customs on importing books in Switzerland. Is it morally right? I never thought about it. But it sure is very convenient and saves quite a bit of money.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
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Fair enough, but that doesn't really apply to this situation. The book is available to me, and I can easily buy it. If I'm willing to jump through a few hoops, I can save some money, but if not I can just buy it from my local vendor. So no effort has been made to restrict me.
I tend to use Luzme (no, i am not connected), and then buy from the cheapest vendor -or track it over a couple of weeks and get the notification when there is a price drop.

Your book is currently £8.75 from Nook in UK at moment.
http://luzme.com/author/Margaret%20A...book/MaddAddam

Last edited by Torkijo; 09-07-2013 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:35 PM   #15
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I'm shocked at what I perceive to be the immorality of people getting around georestrictions. The poll is showing a large majority of people would do something to get around the restriction.
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