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Old 10-01-2008, 09:42 AM   #1
jaffab
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Red face How to purchase ebook.com books in the UK

Hi all,

Well, I finally gave up on Waterstones ever getting their web site sorted out for eBooks. I have written to them several times about how awful it is, and have received several 'we are working on it - thank you for using Waterstones' emails back, so have gone shopping in the states.

I have found that you can purchase almost any book you want from ebooks.com here in the UK, despite the (c) restrictions which says it cant be sold in the UK.

How (and this may be censored later on - if its illegal, then I am sorry, but I want to read books and we are suffering from a really bad service here in the UK)? Well, find the book you want in ebook.com and it will be displayed with the purchase buttons disabled and a "not available in the UK" message. So save the page source to your desktop (right hand click the page, view source, file >save as an "html" (eg. me.html) file on your desktop). Then edit the source file just saved (open it in wordpad or notepad), and find "disabled", removing any occurances of "disabled" in the source code (they are around the "not available in the UK" message). Finally, close (and save the file).

Now, double click on the saved HTML and it takes you back into the shop. Now you can purchase the books without restriction.

If this very wrong, then please feel free to edit or delete this posting. As I say, I for one am sick and tired how the Sony PRS-505 gets tied into waterstones, and waterstones just dont care about selling the books.

At the end of the day, the authors are still getting the money from the sale of the ebook, so it cant be too bad. Can it?

Regards

Jaffa

Last edited by jaffab; 10-01-2008 at 09:45 AM. Reason: A couple of typos
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:46 AM   #2
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It might be easier just to find a proxy server in the USA and set your browser to use that.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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It does depend upon which format you are trying to buy the books?

I and other UK membors have had good luck buying from www.fictionwise.com and www.booksonboard.com, and they've never restricted us in which books we can buy.

Most either purchase .lit or mobi files and reformat them for the sony.

I do believe that the Adobe books can be loaded onto the Sony using Digital editions, but someone who has done it will have to confirm.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
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I must admit, I tend to avoid the Waterstones site too, but I do most of my purchasing from Fictionwise or alternatively anywhere else I see the book first at a reasonable price, www.panmacmillan.co.uk is good for DRM free epub books at the moment, if a bit high priced (UK retail price), not sure if all their stuff is DRM free or not though
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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Hi Guys'
I totally concur with your views regarding Waterstones poor website and the stupidity of not being able to buy from ebook.com. You are lucky jaffab to get a reply from Waterstones . I sent an email on the 11 Sept and am still awaiting a reply (No chance!).

I have used Fictionwise and EBookMall, which were both perfectly satisfactory. I queried with Sony, why I could buy from other US retailers but not them. They pompously replied that they could not comment on other Companies trading policy. What they did not say is why there policy is restricted to the US and Canada.

I fear that with Waterstones and Sony, we have a marriage made in Hell. Sony know how to produce good products but they are not booksellers. Waterstones (presumably) know how to sell their books, but not online!!

Incidentally, I have just downloaded an Adobe format book and it seems to have worked OK on my PRS-505.

Bill
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotech_Master View Post
It might be easier just to find a proxy server in the USA and set your browser to use that.
I initially made the mistake of assuming that Sony was using their customer's internet address to stop purchases from outside the US, but they (like Amazon) are using your credit card address. This may be the case with ebooks.com too. One way to tell would be to try adding the ebook to your shopping cart without logging in, if this works from the UK then the next step is to login and see if the books get deleted from your cart.

If adding an ebook from the UK without logging in does fail, then they might be using your internet address as the filter and a proxy server would be worth trying.
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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As I understand it, the problem is the copyright. Books which have a USA/Canada copyright cannot be sold outside those areas. Fictionwise and BoB are therefore, presumably, breaching the rules by selling to us in the UK (thank goodness!!!). The fact that they do this must be well known in the industry, so I can't understand why they're allowed to continue (perhaps we'd all better keep stum!).

Agree with everything said about Waterstones. I know it's early days for them but if they don't get their act together soon they'll have lost the whole potential market.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:44 AM   #8
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I'm not sure about the US/UK copyright thing, as I can freely order US PB books from Amazon.co.uk and Book Depository, so that must be the same as ebooks, and they have no issues selling US only books to the UK.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:50 AM   #9
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There's a bit of a difference there, actually. It's one of those differences between physical and electronic media that points out how silly it is to try to impose the same restrictions on both.

I'm not a lawyer or anything, and I'm in the USA on top of that. But copyright laws are more or less standardized by treaty in the important respects.

As far as I know, it is legal for consumers to import foreign goods for their own personal use, even when those goods are already licensed in their locality. It is not legal to import and sell those goods commercially.

For instance, Disney holds the American license on a lot of Jackie Chan movies, which they choose to release edited and dubbed-only. The American Hong Kong DVD importer Poker Industries is enjoined from importing and selling the original uncut versions of those titles because Disney has the rights in America. But it's perfectly legal for individual Americans to order the original Hong Kong versions of the movies (which are conveniently subtitled in (usually poor) English) directly from Hong Kong export shops for overseas shipment.

(This is why the whole system of region-locking was implemented in the DVD standard—Hollywood trying an end run around the perfectly legal practice of consumer importing. Fortunately, it was largely ignored by a lot of DVD player manufacturers)

With Internet e-goods, the border between import and local sales are blurred, because a website can deliver those e-goods to people in its own country or halfway around the world with the same ease. But it is still bound by local laws. That's why Internet radio service Pandora only allows access to people in the USA—they would have to pay British royalty rates for listeners in the UK, even though they are located in the USA.

If ebook.com does not have the British sale rights for books, then they are not legally able to sell them to Britons. If Fictionwise is selling them, either they do have the sale rights or else they are banking on nobody caring enough to sue them. (If so, then it's not the only thing that Fictionwise/eReader do that they're not supposed to; the whole minimum-purchase-or-service-fee-by-credit-card thing that they do for micropay is in abeyance of credit card company rules.)

Last edited by Robotech_Master; 10-02-2008 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:50 AM   #10
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With Internet e-goods, the border between import and local sales are blurred, because a website can deliver those e-goods to people in its own country or halfway around the world with the same ease. But it is still bound by local laws.
Does this mean that the ebook retailer is assumed to be exporting the ebook? If I click on a download link this seems to be me as an individual importing the file. How about if my credit card is from (say) the UK, but I download from (say) FictionWise to a US server and then with a 2nd click download it to the UK? Is FictionWise still exporting to the UK?

Most of the sites that restrict sales seem to do it based on credit card address, not the actual "delivery" location.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:00 PM   #11
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Does this mean that the ebook retailer is assumed to be exporting the ebook? If I click on a download link this seems to be me as an individual importing the file.
If it were a seller of physical goods, then yes. But it's not. You're not ordering the goods to be shipped to you from a warehouse in some foreign land. You're ordering it to be "shipped to you" from your computer in your own country. So even if the retailer is located somewhere else, it's still being "sold" locally.

It's the same reason that I can't access some of the content on the official Doctor Who and Torchwood sites in the UK—that content isn't licensed for display in the United States, even though I could legally "import" it if it were out on a DVD for me to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #12
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It's the same reason that I can't access some of the content on the official Doctor Who and Torchwood sites in the UK—that content isn't licensed for display in the United States, even though I could legally "import" it if it were out on a DVD for me to buy from Amazon.co.uk.

...which is the same reason that the BBC iPlayer service isn't available to British expats in Europe - a huge bone of contention in itself!
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:45 PM   #13
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The problem is with not having a US credit card. The UK email is not a problem. Many UK members who want books from the sony store get US members to buy gift vouchers on their behalf. then they enter the voucher code and buy their books without any problems at all.
Personally, I prefer to buy books elsewhere and convert them myself, so that I can have a copy in html, in case I ever change devices.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:15 PM   #14
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Many UK members who want books from the sony store get US members to buy gift vouchers on their behalf. then they enter the voucher code and buy their books without any problems at all.
Yes, I have purchased gift vouchers for several members here. If anyone wants me to do this for them feel free to PM me.

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Old 10-05-2008, 10:59 PM   #15
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If it were a seller of physical goods, then yes. But it's not. You're not ordering the goods to be shipped to you from a warehouse in some foreign land. You're ordering it to be "shipped to you" from your computer in your own country. So even if the retailer is located somewhere else, it's still being "sold" locally.
You mean TO your computer since my computer - much like my home in the case of the DVD etc - doesn't have the file/item before they allow me to d/l.
As for locality I really don't see the difference between ordering DVDs/pBooks via my browser and doing the same for eBooks [I am still in EU/home and they are in US*] in fact BoB I think send the d/l vie email does this mean in your reasoning they have "shipped" the eBooks to me? In short the difference is only the transportation method and IMHO all things considered its a difference without distinction[goods/bytes].


*) Assuming HQ and servers are there.
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