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Old 11-08-2010, 07:10 PM   #1
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How does geographical restriction help anyone?

Say..
a) I have the money and I want to buy a particular ebook,
b) I'm willing to pay the regular price as everyone else does, and I'm even willing to accept the DRM contained in it, but
c) I can't buy it anywhere due to geographical restriction.

How does this situation help the vendors, publishers, authors etc?
Is there any party that benefit from not getting that ebook sold?
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #2
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I don't think the problem is so much that the restriction is done on purpose, as that the legal requirements need to be met for sales to be made in the country in question.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:18 PM   #3
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As I understand it...Publisher A pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in the US. Publisher B pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in France.

Publisher A does its job, and issues the eBook in the US. Publisher B is incompetent and fails to act.

Folks in France want to buy the book. They see that it is available in the US at US websites like Amazon. But Amazon does not have the right to sell Publisher A's edition to the French because the author sold the exclusive rights to the French market to Publisher B.

The French see that Publisher A's book is geographically restricted, and they vent their anger at Publisher A and at Amazon. In fact, their anger should be directed at Publisher B, who owns the exclusive rights to France and is not serving the French market.

And the French should blame the author too, for signing a deal which did not require Publisher B to issue the eBook and keep it available.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #4
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Conventional wisdom is that authors make more money by selling exclusive rights in as many places as possible. I am OK with this, but, as GA Russell says, the problem is that publishers have the exclusive right to sell ebooks but not any obligation to produce one. This is mostly now an issue with backlists, which are much more likely to be available as ebooks in the US than anywhere else. So far as I know, publishers are still not obliged to sell an ebook for new releases - but this is now likely to be a standard part of their work flow.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:37 PM   #5
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It is just a shame that they don't treat ebooks like paper books, that way they could still sell exclusive rights, but consumers are not punished if publishers in a particular region are too lazy to bother releasing an ebook version.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:39 PM   #6
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Is this so true. I live in SE Asia. Publishers and distributors for this region are a lazy lot and I doubt they'll ever be proactive enough to create a website to sell ebooks for which they own the rights. Don't see it happening.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
As I understand it...Publisher A pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in the US. Publisher B pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in France. [...]
Publisher B in France may have acquired the rights for a printed version but not necessarily for an eBook version as well, so maybe B may not even be to blame.

Geographic restrictions might make some kind of sense if we're talking about several countries sharing the same basic language. English=USA, GB, Canada, Australia, ...
If Publisher C, D, E also paid for the ebook rights they like to have the exclusive right to distribute their eBook in their region. Understandable.

BUT

if we're talking about countries with different languages this concept doesn't make any sense. No French publisher acquires the rights for an English version in France. No German publisher acquires the rights for an English version in Germany.
So if I'm French or German and I want to buy and read the English version, those publishers neither a) do hold any rights to the original version nor b) will lose one cent if I decide to buy the English version on Amazon.com. Since they won't ever offer the original version at all.

Either I never consider buying a translated version at all - no money lost - or I would even consider buying one after reading the original - money made.

Geographic restrictions are downright nonsense if they are implied on foreign-language countries.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:30 PM   #8
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Geographical Restrictions send me to the darknet. NOTHING else does.

If they don't want to sell it to me....
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:58 AM   #9
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It's an attempt at market segmentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenapple View Post
Is there any party that benefit from not getting that ebook sold?
No, but that's an extreme case. It usually means that the publisher who acquired the rights for your geographical location hasn't managed / bothered to release an ebook yet.

Why are there different regions anyway? It's all got to do with perceived or real purchase power, economic situation, per capita income, etc. So there is this ebook (or software) you want to sell. People in Thirdworldistan won't be able to afford US prices, so rather than force them to the darknet we sell to them at a big discount: it's less money (per copy), but still better than nothing. If this is software in an obscure language (read: non-English) the danger of it leaking back to our home market is negligible. But with English ebooks, that's precisely what'd happen: if there were no geo restrictions you could (heaven forbid!) buy your book where it's actually cheapest, instead of having the agency price shoved down your throat.

You'll agree that we can't have that...
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
How does geographical restriction help anyone?
They help me. I'll be able to spend my money on other things, while I promote them pirates who are willing to help me.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #11
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As others have mentioned, most geographic restrictions are due to contractual obligations. In short, the primary beneficiary here are the authors.

Also, on a fundamental level it doesn't make sense to treat paper and digital sales the same. It's common, unfortunately, for consumers to demand they be identical when it's to the consumer's advantage, and treated different when the differences are in the consumer's advantage....

On a separate note, it isn't easy for a retailer to do business in 180 countries. Each country has its own tax obligations (e.g. UK charges VAT, US does not), its own laws, its own currency, its customer service needs (e.g. an Indian and American customer may expect customer service reps to act completely differently) and so forth. It's not impossible, but it isn't trivial either, and not many retailers really have the infrastructure to handle international sales.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
No, but that's an extreme case. It usually means that the publisher who acquired the rights for your geographical location hasn't managed / bothered to release an ebook yet.
Sort of, but it isn't always a matter of "can't be bothered." There are so many backlist books with small sales, so many contracts, so many authors and so many estates, that this can't possibly be sorted out in an equitable fashion overnight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian
Why are there different regions anyway?
Because, with the exceptions where languages are shared, most international editions involve translations and local marketing.

As to the idea of indexing pricing based on regional cost of living, I'm not sure that's the case. As far as I can tell, books aren't a commodity that can be produced cheaply in one area for international consumption; i.e. you can't have a writer in Nigeria or China re-write a Stephen King book at a fraction of King's royalties and advance.

In addition, in many cases a price differential is based not on the cost of living, but on national taxes. For example, gasoline costs over twice as much in Europe as the US, purely because of taxes.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Because, with the exceptions where languages are shared, most international editions involve translations and local marketing.
I can understand that. But I want to buy an ENGLISH language book. Not a Dutch one. There is NO Dutch publisher who will print English books by English/American/Australian/any other English speaking country writers. I'm not allowed to buy it in the US, I can understand that. There is also an UK publisher. But I'm not allowed to buy from them either. So, where can I go?
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:24 AM   #13
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Sure.

It helps Australians save a lot of money that would be wasted on frivolous entertainment, otherwise.

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Old 11-09-2010, 11:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA Russell View Post
As I understand it...Publisher A pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in the US. Publisher B pays the author money for the exclusive right to publish the book in France.

Publisher A does its job, and issues the eBook in the US. Publisher B is incompetent and fails to act.

Folks in France want to buy the book. They see that it is available in the US at US websites like Amazon. But Amazon does not have the right to sell Publisher A's edition to the French because the author sold the exclusive rights to the French market to Publisher B.

The French see that Publisher A's book is geographically restricted, and they vent their anger at Publisher A and at Amazon. In fact, their anger should be directed at Publisher B, who owns the exclusive rights to France and is not serving the French market.

And the French should blame the author too, for signing a deal which did not require Publisher B to issue the eBook and keep it available.
Sometimes, Publisher B owns the exclusive right to sell it translated in French.
Still, no ebook available on the other side of the Atlantic.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
I can understand that. But I want to buy an ENGLISH language book. Not a Dutch one. There is NO Dutch publisher who will print English books by English/American/Australian/any other English speaking country writers. I'm not allowed to buy it in the US, I can understand that. There is also an UK publisher. But I'm not allowed to buy from them either. So, where can I go?
You can still buy the paperback from Amazon.
And that's funny....
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