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Old 05-18-2010, 04:36 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Another Geographic Restrictions rant

Last night I read on the news that Noam Chomsky had been refused permission to Israel, and wanted to do a little bit to support him by buying one of his ebooks.

I spent a couple of hours searching the internet, but could not find any store or publisher which would sell to me because I live in Australia. This so stupid - there was money trying its best to get out of my bank account into a publisher's or retailer's bank account, and they wouldn't accept it. Dumb.

Anyway, three questions, one specific, one more general, and one quite general.
- Does anyone know of a ebook retailer which will sell one of his books to me in Australia?
- Does anyone know which publisher has the rights to sell his books in Australia? If I could find that out I might be able to approach the publisher directly.
- Does anyone know of a way to find out, for a given author and publisher, which firm has the rights to sell ebooks in Australia?

Regards, Alex
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:27 AM   #2
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No, BUT inkmesh.com is often handy.

I typed in noam chomsky, and it said that 9-11 is stocked by WH Smith in the UK. Often, Australia's included in the geographical rights of UK and Europe. And by the looks of it, there aren't geographical restrictions for that particular ebook on that site - http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk/4E94F0C0...2-62932B26C0B9

I hope you find the one you're after
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:57 AM   #3
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Thanks, Naomi, but I tried them last night. I think 'Failed States' and 'Interventions' are published by ePenguin UK, and it's them who are enforcing the restrictions - I went to the ePenguin site also, and they wouldn't sell either of them to me.

Regards, Alex
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:14 AM   #4
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Borders and others open their Australian ebook stores tomorrow don't they? Hopefully you'll be able to get what you want then.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:54 AM   #5
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Unlikely. They might have some, but like all other media, only a certain considerably smaller percentage is likely to be available to us. One particular organisation is not going to have sorted that out - especially as the US variety doesn't have lots of stuff, either.
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:29 PM   #6
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Noam Chomsky books available from Borders Australia...
http://www.borders.com.au/search/Cho...diatype/EBook/
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:33 PM   #7
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Yeah well. You're not missing much, just some extreme left-wing conspiracy theory ranting...

At any rate, the planet cannot throw out the entirety of contract law because the effects inconvenience you. You'll have to wait until things get sorted out.

I might add that this actually favors the authors. Authors sign detailed contracts, which specify what region that publisher can cover. If Penguin US sells you an ebook, they are violating the terms of the contract; and I'm pretty sure most authors would not like it if the publishers started treating contracts like wet rags that they can ignore or dispose of at will.

In addition, different regions have wildly diverse requirements, both legal (e.g. taxes, VAT etc) and promotional/marketing needs, and the retailer needs the legal right to operate in your territory. The fact that you can easily surf a US site doesn't mean it's equally easy for that retailer to collect and pay all the proper taxes and abide by all the local laws for every potential international customer.

As to who is selling his books, either contact Penguin UK or shoot the Chomster an email. Someone on his staff may be able to fill you in on availability.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
- Does anyone know of a ebook retailer which will sell one of his books to me in Australia?
Not that it helps you, but Amazon have 16 of his Kindle books available to Australia.

As someone else posted, Borders have 3 of his books.

Quote:
- Does anyone know which publisher has the rights to sell his books in Australia? If I could find that out I might be able to approach the publisher directly.
I had a look at some of his books at random at Amazon, and got a bunch of different publishers:
Seven Stories Press
Open Media
CCV Digital
ePenguin

Last edited by Chris Crouch; 05-19-2010 at 02:01 AM. Reason: incomprehensible
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:35 PM   #9
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Although I know it can be a huge inconvenience, and I definitely feel your pain, as a publisher I have to tell you that we'd rather be able to offer titles with limited delivery than not offer titles at all.

We received the rights to produce the electronic version of Edward Wright's CLEA'S MOON. However, due to Ed's contracts for the print edition in the UK, we are not allowed to distribute there. Rest of the world, check. UK, no go. So folks in the UK can't buy our ebook version at Amazon, Powells, etc..

Our situation is a little different though. We aren't required to make that limitation for sales on our own site, just when we are using retailers such as Amazon. I don't even think Smashwords is an issue because they tend to have an open market. The big restriction on the publishers is that we cannot make the title available for a retailer located in your market.

Mind you, my authors aren't as heavily represented by a legal team the size of Noam's, but it's good to know that we don't necessarily have to keep titles from our readers. It's all a negotiation process.

Best,
Jay Hartman
Editor-In-Chief
Untreed Reads Publishing
http://www.untreedreads.com
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:04 AM   #10
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Neelie Kroes (the current Commissioner for the Digital Agenda in the EU) worded it exactly as it is: the market is too much fragmented. (both European and pan-European)

Quote:
Today there are four times as many music downloads in the US as in the EU because of the lack of legal offers and fragmented markets;

<snip>

Consumers expect, rightly, that they can access content online at least as effectively
as in the offline world. Europe lacks a unified market in the content sector. For
instance, to set-up a pan-European service an online music store would have to
negotiate with numerous rights management societies based in 27 countries.
Consumers can buy CDs in every shop but are often unable to buy music from online
platforms across the EU because rights are licensed on a national basis.
And I love this one:

Quote:
The availability of a wide and attractive legal online legal offer would also be an effective response to piracy.
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:26 AM   #11
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What publishers and authors need to understand is that consumers in this increasingly globalized world are less and less willing to put up with what they perceive as arbitrary barriers and borders.

This has not been so much of an issue with books in the past because they were so tightly bound to the physical medium. They weren't available in your country, you could either import them yourself (perfectly legal), mail-order them or whatever. This is still the case: Amazon will happily ship their North-American catalog to readers worldwide. Also, they were only attractive to a minority. For mass market appeal they needed to be translated etc.

With electronic distribution things suddenly changed: "Sorry, not in your neck of the woods. But if you wait another year or three, perhaps we'll throw you a bone then." Well, it's not flying: consumers want their content now, together with the rest of the world. They're willing to pay for it, too, but if paying is not an option they might well turn to other means. This is the internet, after all.
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UntreedReads View Post
We received the rights to produce the electronic version of Edward Wright's CLEA'S MOON. However, due to Ed's contracts for the print edition in the UK, we are not allowed to distribute there. Rest of the world, check. UK, no go. So folks in the UK can't buy our ebook version at Amazon, Powells, etc..
Therein lies the rub. Those fans in the UK will turn elsewhere if they cannot purchase the ebook. Most times that would mean acquiring the book via file sharing.

The publishing industry (agency 5) seems to stick its head in the sand and pretend that DRM and geographically restricting ebooks will restrict piracy.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
consumers want their content now, together with the rest of the world. They're willing to pay for it, too, but if paying is not an option they might well turn to other means. This is the internet, after all.
Very well put rogue_librarian. A couple of months ago I was trying to locate an ebook retailer that had a new release of one of my favourite authors. Unable to find the book on the very few sites I can buy from. I wrote to the publisher asking how I can obtain the ebook - it was available everywhere overseas. Instead of any sort of useful response; I received a lecture on geo restrictions and told I cannot buy from overseas.

Needless to say I was peeved and will not put up with it - I sourced the book elsewhere free; didn't want to but really was left with no option. I'm happy to pay for ebooks - but at the very least they need to be made available to me!
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:40 AM   #14
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Needless to say I was peeved and will not put up with it - I sourced the book elsewhere free; didn't want to but really was left with no option. I'm happy to pay for ebooks - but at the very least they need to be made available to me!
That is the same as saying that if it is not available at all as an eBook you are left with no option but to download it. This is a very weak and egoistical argument for downloading. I actually think that arguments that says that downloading will faster make the world better or arguments that says that the current copyright length is absurd and damaging for society are much better and stronger argument for downloading.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:40 AM   #15
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That is the same as saying that if it is not available at all as an eBook you are left with no option but to download it. This is a very weak and egoistical argument for downloading. I actually think that arguments that says that downloading will faster make the world better or arguments that says that the current copyright length is absurd and damaging for society are much better and stronger argument for downloading.
I don't think downloading a book for 'free' because of geographic restrictions is in the same ethical category as downloading a book because it is not in ebook format. I can understand entirely why people download copies of ebooks they cannot buy because they are refused sale on the basis of geographic restrictions, something which from my readings does not have a clear definition of. I don't think it is fair to say that someone can buy the paperback or ebook version of a novel in the UK, but here in Australia we can only buy the identical paperback version and not the ebook because of our country of residence (though if I flew to the UK and bought the ebook, could I return home with it?).
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