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Old 05-10-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
Rand Brittain
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W.H. Smith and US purchases

I used to be able to purchase ebooks from W. H. Smith from the US by using the address of a relative in England as a billing address, but today, I was unable to get the website to accept my billing information- it told me it was unable to register my card at this time.

Have W. H. Smith updated their geographic restrictions since my last purchase?

Furthermore, could I purchase from their store by buying a Visa gift card and registering that to an address in England?
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:38 AM   #2
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I don't know how long ago this was, but they put additional geo-restrictions in place. Your best bet for continuing to purchase from WH Smith would be to use a UK issued Visa gift card, your UK relative's address, and use a VPN to make it appear that your PC is in the UK. Now that the UK has gone agency pricing, I'm not sure how much advantage there is to do this, except to be able to buy ebooks that are not available in the US, and probably won't be any time soon.
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rand Brittain View Post
I used to be able to purchase ebooks from W. H. Smith from the US by using the address of a relative in England as a billing address, but today, I was unable to get the website to accept my billing information- it told me it was unable to register my card at this time.

Have W. H. Smith updated their geographic restrictions since my last purchase?

Furthermore, could I purchase from their store by buying a Visa gift card and registering that to an address in England?
When UK publishers switched to the agency model both WH Smith and Waterstones were forced to stop shipping outside the UK.

The last time I bought books from WH Smith registering my account with an UK address and using that address as billing address for my Dutch credit card was enough to circumvent the geo-restrictions. I did not need a VPN and the billing addres was not verified at the credit card company.
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:28 PM   #4
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How hard is it to get a UK-issued Visa gift card in the USA? What's the best place to look for one? Will an American-issued one not work if registered to a British address?
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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I use an EntroPay virtual credit card to buy from WHSmith. They charge 5% upfront, but don't provide or verify an address to retailers. It might help that they are a UK company. I don't use a VPN.

Getting the account setup from the US requires jumping through some hoops, EntroPay requires scan of your passport or drivers license (with the number blanked out), a credit card, and a bank account statement. Also, one of my US credit cards refused to transfer funds to EntroPay. Once the account was created, it has worked with no problems for more than a year and it worked again today to buy ebooks from WHSmith.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:01 PM   #6
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How hard is it to get a UK-issued Visa gift card in the USA? What's the best place to look for one? Will an American-issued one not work if registered to a British address?
Like I said in my previous post, try this first: just use your regular US credit card, but use a valid UK address as account address and billing address on the WH Smith website. This worked the last time I bought books from WH Smith with my Dutch credit card. The billing address was not verified with the credit card company.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:48 PM   #7
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The last time I did it I set up Account US with all my real info and bought myself a gift card.

Then I set up Account UK with a London address, used Hidemyass to give myself a UK IP, applied the gift card, and bought the book. That isn't something I'm going to mess with often to say the least.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
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I used my own card with a British billing address. The site told me it couldn't register my card at this time (although a few 1.00 holds showed up on my debit account).

I guess I'll have to try something different, like this EntroPay thing.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:35 AM   #9
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Now I'm curious, what are the advantages of purchasing from W. H. Smith over U. S.-based vendors? Are the prices less expensive? Is the selection really different?
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:20 PM   #10
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sometimes you can find a book there that isn't at US vendors due to geographic limitations. Prices may or may not be better but by the time you mess around with currency conversion and then whatever credit card fees you'll probably incur - it's not as likely.

It's rare that a US bases buyer would want to mess with it much, but it happens. Other regions (Europe, Asia, Australia etc) probably have a much greater need for it.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:32 PM   #11
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Thanks, I appreciate the explanation.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #12
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I tried to buy some ebooks by a favorite author from Amazon.uk. The ebooks were available from US sources, but were cheaper from Amazon.uk (perhaps because the author was British?). I got spanked (but politely) for trying & told to go to Amazon.com. I've been looking at a couple of ebooks difficult to find in the US & was considering buying from Foyles. Do you think I'll run into the same problems you've encountered at W.H. Smith & Waterstones?
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:06 PM   #13
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Geo-restrictions - Geographic Restrictions: Authors and publishers have contractual obligations which mean that books are handled by different sales outlets for different countries... far more strictly enforced for eBooks as opposed to paper...The easy to way to see if you can get something is the simple one, try it...


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I tried to buy some ebooks by a favorite author from Amazon.uk. The ebooks were available from US sources, but were cheaper from Amazon.uk (perhaps because the author was British?). I got spanked (but politely) for trying & told to go to Amazon.com. I've been looking at a couple of ebooks difficult to find in the US & was considering buying from Foyles. Do you think I'll run into the same problems you've encountered at W.H. Smith & Waterstones?
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:37 PM   #14
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I've been looking at a couple of ebooks difficult to find in the US & was considering buying from Foyles. Do you think I'll run into the same problems you've encountered at W.H. Smith & Waterstones?
Your might, but it is worth trying the valid credit card with a "fake" UK address approach. The EntroPay approach worked last time I checked. Foyles does carry some ebooks that no one else has. One problem with Foyles is that they use a version of Adobe Digital Editions that is embedded in your web browser to deliver the ebooks. It is a bit fragile, and no one else does this.

Last edited by wallcraft; 05-13-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:45 AM   #15
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You might try purchasing a store gift card with your current CC or debit card. Then use that gift card to purchase the ebook.
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