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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 09-16-2013, 02:42 AM   #196
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I don't tend to circumvent geographical restrictions for price reasons in any other shop but Amazon.

On Amazon, I do it, and I do it a lot, for the simple reason that ebooks - whether by US or UK publishers - are considerably (and I mean by $4-7 on average for books at their regular price) more expensive for me on Amazon than they are for my German, French, Irish or American friends.

If Amazon (and yes, here I'm also putting some of that blame on Amazon) feels it right and justifiable to add their $2 surcharge (which also means an increase in the amount of VAT they add to my book purchases) to the price of ebooks bought by people in certain countries (many of those being countries with considerably lower average income levels than the countries in which that surcharge does not get added), then I don't feel any particular moral guilt in circumventing that.

Perhaps if I had a 3G capable Kindle and used Amazon's "free" 3G to download my books, I'd feel differently, because in that case I could at least see some reason for that surcharge. As it is, I don't even own a 3G capable Kindle device, and neither am I robbing a local publisher (since there is no local publisher responsible for publishing foreign ebooks in English for my market). I'm not living in anyone's target market, really, so if I pretend to live somewhere that is a target market (and, incidentally, do my part in helping to push a certain book upwards in the bestsellers list for that market/region, which apparently sometimes matters to publishers and authors?), I'm not really overwhelmed by moral guilt.

And yes, I know I'm breaking some kind of agreement or another, and justifying this to myself comes down to, well, justifying my behaviour to myself, but with the price differences (and income differences) being what they are, it also comes down to me either buying books from an official shop at a price the publisher and bookseller have deemed appropriate in their desired target market or not being financially able to buy those books at all, resorting to either torrenting (which I'd rather not do) or not reading them at all, neither of which will be particularly helpful for the authors and publishers concerned.

A typical "genre" book (a year or so after release) on Amazon costs e.g. $5.76 for people in France or Germany, $7.99 for Americans at regular full price (and often $1.99-2.99 as a daily/monthly deal) and $11.49 for me - this is not an insignificant difference when one reads over 100 books a year and has none of the ways people in the US or UK would have to read the same books for free or cheaply, i.e. to borrow it from a library or from a friend or buy a cheap used paperback.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:34 PM   #197
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I have only once circumvented georestrictions to get a book cheaper, however I had the blessing of the author first. When the book was released, it was selling for 78p (~$1.32 at the time) in the author's home country of the UK. Stateside, unbeknownst to the author, the same book by the same publisher was selling for $19.99. The paper copy of that was selling for half of that. Since he was someone who long ranted about overpriced ebooks, and pushed for the cheap price in the UK, he gave everyone the go ahead to buy it in the UK. After what I assume was Bob complaining, the publisher readjusted the prices in the US to be close to what it is in the UK ($1.99). Even though the UK was still technically cheaper, I'd have been happy buying at the adjusted US price, had they offered it initially.

That said, it is the only time I've ever done so, and really the only time I ever plan to. I want to pay the authors of the stuff I like.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #198
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"The morality of circumventing geographical restrictions only to buy cheaper ebooks..."

Today, I have noticed that I do not have any problem with this. Consider that Kobo has a 50% off coupon. I went to buy some books: two series of 5 books each. The price differences between the stores in different countries were HUGE.

Warning, some breakdowns in a very long post are ahead.

First series prices, per book.

Many US stores, including Kobo: $12.99 (€9.75)
Amazon.com $10.95 (€8.20)
Amazon UK, cheapest of the UK sellers: 3.95 pounds, €4.75
Kobo, from Netherlands: €4.95
Kobo, from Netherlands, including 50% coupon: €2.47

So the price per book has fallen greatly during the search:

€9.75 (many stores) -> €8.20 (Amazon US) -> €4.95 (Kobo Netherlands) -> €4.75 (Amazon UK, if I jump restrictions) -> €2.47 (Kobo Netherlands, because of coupon).

I have a Kindle. If I just blindly would have bought at Amazon.com as I'm "supposed to do", this series would have cost me $54.95 (€41.16). Shopping around got me those books for a total of €12.35. Difference: €28.81. For people who have a Kobo and blindly shop at Kobo, it would have been even *more* expensive. $2 per book extra, to be precise, for a total of $64.95/€48.08.

See the differences between those two Kobos... and the Amazons...

Needless to say, I bought the entire series at Kobo through Netherlands for €2.47 a book, mainly because of the coupon.

If I hadn't had a coupon from Kobo, the difference between Kobo Netherlands and Amazon UK would not be big enough to start jumping regional restrictions.

But that, my dear reader, brings us to the second series, all prices per book:

Amazon US store: $9.81 (€7.35)
Kobo through Netherlands: €6.04 (missing book 4 and 5)
Feedbooks (don't know location): €4.49 (missing book 5)
Diesel, cheapest in US for these books: $4.85 (€3.59). Will not accept Dutch credit card/payment for these series. Diesel is out for this series.
Kobo through Netherlands, with 50% coupon: €3.02

Normally Diesel would be cheapest, but I can't buy that series there. No way to jump regional restrictions apart from having a US creditcard AFAIK, which I don't have. If I hadn't had a coupon, I normally would have bought the first 4 books at Feedbooks. Now the coupon made Kobo cheaper.

I almost bought parts 1 to three with Kobo through the Netherlands but wait... if I can buy 1-3 in the Netherlands, while Diesel has 4 and 5 but I can't buy them, then maybe Kobo US has 4 and 5 and will sell them? So I switched my account to Kobo US. Kobo US did not have book 4 and 5 either, but look at the prices for book 1-3:

Kobo trhough US: $6.75 (€5.00)

Still not cheaper than Feedbooks, but wait:

Kobo trhough US, including 50% coupon (works): €2.50.

So the price for the first three books has also fallen greatly:

€7.35 (Amazon US) -> €6.04 (Kobo Netherlands) -> €5 (Kobo US) -> €4.49 (FeedBooks) -> €3.02 (Kobo Netherlands with coupon) -> €2.50 (Kobo US with coupon)

I almost resigned myself to buying book 4 at FeedBooks, and then maybe... just maybe get Book 5 at Amazon US and pay the extra price, because I can't get it anywhere else without bumping into regional restrictions I can't resolve. But wait. Let's take a look at Luzme.com.

Result: Amazon UK sells these books for 3.05 (€3.65) pounds a piece, and they have all of them.

Cheaper than Kobo US, but it can't match Kobo US + Coupon.

So, I I got the first three books at Kobo US including the coupon. Then I moved my Amazon Digital account from Amazon US to UK by creating a UK address, and bought the forth and fifth book at Amazon UK for €3.65.

In the end, had I just bought all of the books of the second series at Amazon US, which would be expected because I have a Kindle, I would have paid $49.64 / €36.75. By jumping regional restrictions twice and using that coupon, I paid $19.15 / €14.18.

This saves me $30.49 / €22.57 for this series.

========================================

So to summarize:
I've bought 8 out of 10 books outside my own walled garden.
I've jumped regional restrictions twice (in the same series).
I've used a 50% coupon that would have been useless had I stayed in the WG.

Price when staying within walled garden of Amazon US:

5 x €8.20 (First series)
5 x €7.35 (Second series)
=======
€ 77.75

Price jumping the walled garden fence, but inside georestrictions (no coupon):

5 x €4.95 (First series, Kobo Netherlands)
4 x €4.49 (Second series, four books, Feedbooks)
1 x €7.35 (Second series, fifth book, Amazon US, only option)
=======
€ 50.06

Jumping the walled garden saves €27.69 / $ 37.40 for these 10 books.

Price jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions (still without coupon)

5 x €4.95 (First series, Kobo Netherlands)
5 x €3.69 (Second series, all books, Amazon UK)
========
€ 42.20

Jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions saves €35.55 / $ 48.02 for these 10 books.

And lastly, bouncing all over the fracking planet with a 50% Kobo coupon in hand (so always looking at Kobo first):

5 x €2.48 (First series, Kobo Netherlands, Jumped WG + coupon)
3 x €2.50 (Second series 1-3, Kobo US, Jumped WG + Geo + coupon)
2 x €3.69 (Second series 4-5, Amazon UK, Jumped Geo)
=======
€ 27.28

Jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions AND using a huge coupon (a coupon that would have been useless had I stayed in the WG) saves €50.47 / $ 68.17 for these 10 books.

Conclusion:

1. Is it worth to look beyond your walled garden: Very. Possibly lower prices, more options for coupons and deals. In this case, it would have saved 35%, even without coupons.
2. Is it worth it to jump geo-restrictions in addition to the WG: Yes, it is. You could possibly save another 15-20%.
3. Is it worth it to this, even if you have a big fat coupon in hand? HELL YES, even more so. This is the bee's knees on savings. Find the lowest prices and lower them further with coupons if possible. In this particular case, this brought savings of 65%.


And no, I have no moral objections doing this. This is the fracking 21st century, and we have internet now. These books are digital products that can be bought and acquired using said internet, from all over the world. All restrictions are artifical to make you pay more. I hate to pay more, and I hate artifical restrictions even more.

The entire world now competes, and I'm just a customer shopping around, just as I would have locally 20 years ago for smaller purchases, or maybe on a national level, for a very big purchase. Now, using the internet, the entire world is a mall for those who wish to look further than their own city or even country. I'm doing what I'd do in a non-internet world: visiting stores, choosing one (with price dictating most of the choice), paying the prices that are asked for stuff (in the cheapest stores I can find), and using deals and coupons as I would in any other store; and therefore I don't feel that I'm "stealing" or anything.

Please note that this breakdown is based on only two series, but it does clearly show that, depending on what you read, jumping the walled garden, geo-restrictions, or both can be very profitable. And we're not even talking about the coupons that become available that you wouldn't be able to use if you stayed inside the walled garden. Savings up to between 35 and 65% are possible.

Oh, and apparently: depending on what you read, Amazon is not always the least expensive.

Last edited by Katsunami; 09-18-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:02 PM   #199
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RE: Jumping the Walled garden

Interesting post. Nice to see actual figures.

One thing which I am unclear on. Were prices the same with the same company, different regions excluding coupons?

Helen
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:15 PM   #200
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RE: Jumping the Walled Garden

I am in awe. Totally. And yes, I could see myself going through this process to save money.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:23 PM   #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
"The morality of circumventing geographical restrictions only to buy cheaper ebooks..."

Today, I have noticed that I do not have any problem with this. Consider that Kobo has a 50% off coupon. I went to buy some books: two series of 5 books each. The price differences between the stores in different countries were HUGE.

Warning, some breakdowns in a very long post are ahead.
Diesel does accept Paypal.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:53 PM   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
RE: Jumping the Walled garden

Interesting post. Nice to see actual figures.

One thing which I am unclear on. Were prices the same with the same company, different regions excluding coupons?

Helen
No, they weren't the same. It seems you missed it in the mass of text.

First series, no coupon, per book:

Amazon US $10.95 (€8.20)
Amazon UK 3.95 pounds, €4.75
Kobo US: $12.99 (€9.75)
Kobo Netherlands: €4.95

Stores not in the comparison for series 1:
Feedbooks (Entire World): €9.75. I knew this price already.
Ebooks.com (Entire World) €4.96 for book 1-3, €5.98 for book 4-5. Therefore more expensive than Kobo. I knew these prices already.

Second series, no coupon, per book:

Amazon US store: $9.81 (€7.35) (Book 1-5)
Amazon UK store: 3.05 pounds (€3.65) (Book 1-5)
Kobo US: $6.75 (€5.00) (Book 1-3, missing 4 and 5)
Kobo Netherlands: (€6.04) (Book 1-3, missing 4 and 5)
FeedBooks (Entire World): €4.49 (Book 1-4, missing 5)
Diesel (Entire World): $4.81 (€3.56) (Book 1-5, cannot buy this series with Dutch creditcard.)

Stores not in comparison for Series 2:
EBooks.com (Entire World): €6.01, knew this price already. Kobo+coupon was bound to be cheaper, and EBooks.com has prices without VAT.

Other notes: EBooks.com has prices slightly lower than Kobo Netherlands with many books I checked, but these are without VAT. When paying, 21% VAT is added for the Netherlands, making Kobo cheaper with most, but not all books.

Stores I didn't look at:
Waterstones. Cannot pay there. Creditcard not accepted.
Foyles: Cannot pay there. Only UK creditcards accepted.
WHSmith: With most books seems to be a Kobo retailer, actually referring to the Kobo site when paying.

At least, I've finally tried the KindleUnpack plugin. If one buys an AZW3 from Amazon, a perfect EPUB is extracted, without conversion. (There is no "calibre" stuff in the CSS etc.) The only thing missing is the cover, but I'll put that in with Sigil in no-time.

Because Amazon is sometimes amazingly cheap, I was starting to research how AZW3 would convert to EPUB, to use that newly converted file as a source for other conversions, such as back to AZW3 after fixing it where needed. That's not necessary anymore.

Using KindleUnpack, Amazon actually provides very good "EPUB" files

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
Diesel does accept Paypal.
Yes, but not for this series, because my billing address of my creditcard is Dutch, which is also the payment method for Paypal.

Temporarily "moving" to a different country by changing the data in my profile of a store is OK with me, but I'm not going to *** around with the credit card. Sometimes I need that thing to buy other stuff than books, so I don't want it in trouble.

Last edited by Katsunami; 09-18-2013 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:02 PM   #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
RE: Jumping the Walled Garden

I am in awe. Totally. And yes, I could see myself going through this process to save money.
Hehe. I'm not one to hunt down every last cent, because it's just not economical. Hunting down €50 is worth it though. That's another 10 books...

And no, normally it doesn't take hours and hours of my time. I don't write up these comparisons for myself; I browse stores and note prices quite quickly Normally I also don't buy 10 or more books at a time.

Still, even if I would buy 10 books regularly and comparing prices takes an hour which nets me €50, then I'm all for it. I don't make a net salary of €50 an hour. (It would mean a net €8400 salary for a month, and I don't really have that... by a long shot.)

Last edited by Katsunami; 09-18-2013 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:15 PM   #204
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@Katsunami
You are right, I got lost in the post and I did look three times.

IMO geographical restrictions are sometimes in place to allow the same company (and Kobo is far from the only one) to take advantage of traditionally higher prices in some regions.

A matter of conscious I guess, and pressure to make the company successful, but should it be done in this way. Not in my opinion.

With ebooks it cannot be justified by higher production or shipping costs, taxes may figure, but they can be charged separately and I doubt they make up the bulk of the price difference.

Anyway congrats on doing the research and getting a good deal

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:38 AM   #205
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Yes, but not for this series, because my billing address of my creditcard is Dutch, which is also the payment method for Paypal.
Curious. How does Diesel know what payment method you are using? Or that you have a Dutch address? One of the reasons Paypal is popular is its privacy and security.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:14 AM   #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
@Katsunami
You are right, I got lost in the post and I did look three times.

IMO geographical restrictions are sometimes in place to allow the same company (and Kobo is far from the only one) to take advantage of traditionally higher prices in some regions.

A matter of conscious I guess, and pressure to make the company successful, but should it be done in this way. Not in my opinion.
One again. They are bidding for a book. Do you mean that publishers should get together and agree not to use difference in regions to bid higher? That seems to me to be the kind of behavior that people here do not like. And the author will try to make as much money as possible. Or are you saying that the author are not allowed to try to make as much money as possible?

I suppose another alternative is to totally remove restrictions but that would make it impossible to get local editions of books and I thought that you wanted to have that most often. And they will sell less books since the marketing will not be targeted to the local market.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:50 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
And the author will try to make as much money as possible. Or are you saying that the author are not allowed to try to make as much money as possible?
Of course authors can try to make as much money as possible, that's capitalism. At the same time, consumers are allowed to try spending as little as possible on a product. That's capitalism too -- can't have it one way but not the other
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:11 AM   #208
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Location: Link÷png, Sweden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
Of course authors can try to make as much money as possible, that's capitalism. At the same time, consumers are allowed to try spending as little as possible on a product. That's capitalism too -- can't have it one way but not the other
Yes. Without lying, cheating or breaking the law.
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