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Old 06-04-2010, 03:11 AM   #1
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Diesel ebooks - Agency 5 and geographic restrictions

I thought my recent ongoing experience with Diesel was worth sharing.

A couple of days ago, I thought it was worth checking to see if the ebooks withdrawn during the Agency 5 machinations were available again.

They certainly were a click-able entity on my bookshelf, but now they had become geographically restricted, generating an error message about being in the wrong territory. Great!

Seeing more than a little red, I created a ticket requesting that full refunds be provided for those books I had purchased and that I was not allowed to have.

Diesel's customer service is fast, within a few hours (time zone differences), I was emailed telling me the issue was being looked at. Not long after that, I received an email from Diesel ebooks director Kelley Allen. In that email he apologised for the issue, informed me that the withdrawal of the ebooks was beyond Diesel's control being a distributor initiated move.

What did please me though was the acceptance that Diesel would repay me for the GR restricted and thus unavailable books that I had paid good money for.

I am pleased at this stage with the outcome, pending my Paypal account being credited for the cost of over 60% of my ebooks I purchased.

What I would like to know though is, if anyone else has been unable to access their bookshelf titles at Diesel?

I am not sure how widespread my situation is.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:40 PM   #2
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Purely as a matter of interest, if these were books that you'd previously purchased, why did you not download them at the time of purchase? I don't think that any bookstore guarantees to keep purchased items available for you indefinitely; once you've made the purchase it becomes your responsibility to ensure that you have a copy of the book safely backed up.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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The non-logged-in section of Diesel's site indicates that your purchases will be available in your bookshelf, with no mention of a time limit.

It may be unreasonable to expect them to be available forever--but it's also unreasonable to be unable to transfer ownership of a purchase to another person. I've got little sympathy for ebookstores that treat purchases like licenses. If it's a license, they may be obligated to continue to provide access to it.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:59 PM   #4
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It may be unreasonable to expect them to be available forever--but it's also unreasonable to be unable to transfer ownership of a purchase to another person.
It isn't unreasonable at all with a digital purchase, because of the practical difficulty of transferring ownership. eBooks are not alone in not being transferrable - it applies to pretty much all "download" sales. You can't transfer ownership of a tune you download from iTunes, or of a game that you download to your X-Box. Everybody knows and accept that this is so. If you don't like it, don't make digital purchases.
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:09 PM   #5
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There's no practical difficulty with "I sold my iPod full of songs and deleted those songs from my computer." It's only DRM that makes the practical side of things difficult. (While it can be difficult to entirely delete all traces of digital files, no store has complained about the number of third-party servers that have "copies" of ebooks or mp3s between the originator and the buyer. The issue is accessible, going-to-be-used files, not mainly-inaccessible digital copies.)

It's difficult to *enforce* "...and I deleted those from my computer," but no more so than enforcing people not making photocopies of books before selling them.

If the argument is, "but the files are still available in your online bookshelf/store," then they need to *remain* available in that store.
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:16 PM   #6
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There's no practical difficulty with "I sold my iPod full of songs and deleted those songs from my computer."
There's no practical diffculty - far from it, it's all too easy, which is precisely why it's not permitted.

You sell an iPod full of music. That music comes from one of two sources - either you've ripped it from CDs yourself (and are you going to give away all those original CDs with the iPod?) or you've bought it from iTunes (in which case you can freely re-download it).

It's the very ease of duplicating digital content that's the reason for the prohibition on re-selling it. Practically speaking, it has to be that way, because digital content can be endlessly replicated with no loss of quality from the original.
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:19 PM   #7
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But harry, the internet means everything is free right?
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:01 PM   #8
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You sell an iPod full of music. That music comes from one of two sources - either you've ripped it from CDs yourself (and are you going to give away all those original CDs with the iPod?) or you've bought it from iTunes (in which case you can freely re-download it).
You can re-download it if it's available. If iTunes doesn't keep it available--or, in this case, if Diesel ebooks doesn't keep those books available--there's no reason not to allow transfer of ownership.

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It's the very ease of duplicating digital content that's the reason for the prohibition on re-selling it. Practically speaking, it has to be that way, because digital content can be endlessly replicated with no loss of quality from the original.
Books and magazines didn't become illegal to resell when home scan/print/copy devices became cheap. The ease of copy-making has nothing to do with how legal it is to sell something.

And content producers--both artists and media/publishing companies--are going to have to deal with the reality of easy copies, and soon. It will *never* get harder to make copies. And saying "you can't share what you've bought" is attempting to stomp on how culture has always worked.

I'm not saying anyone should be free to make infinite copies and share them with the torrents. But we have to find some kind of middle ground; something between "digital copies = free for everyone as fast as they can download" and "one purchase = 1 user/reader/listener, ever."

How much reading would you have done, growing up, if you couldn't borrow books from a friend, couldn't buy any secondhand, couldn't receive a used one as a gift? How many of us would've learned to love books if the only ones we could read were either in libraries, or purchased new specifically for us?

Until digital economies face the cultural aspects of sharing, they'll continue to limp along and spend ridiculous effort fighting "copies" that are the digital version of the way people have always shared art and knowledge with each other.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:59 PM   #9
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I think Elfwreck has a point. From a practical standpoint DRM is not working. I think companies are going to have to trust their customers. There might be people who buy one copy and share many, many more, but more people will buy a copy and never share it and if they do share they might only give it to a few friends. Besides, customers are also fans, they want their favorite author to publish more and they are not stupid, they know he has to have money to live. I think most people are perfectly willing to buy books even if it was just to support their favorite author.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #10
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They certainly were a click-able entity on my bookshelf, but now they had become geographically restricted, generating an error message about being in the wrong territory. Great!

Seeing more than a little red, I created a ticket requesting that full refunds be provided for those books I had purchased and that I was not allowed to have.


In that email he apologised for the issue, informed me that the withdrawal of the ebooks was beyond Diesel's control being a distributor initiated move.

What did please me though was the acceptance that Diesel would repay me for the GR restricted and thus unavailable books that I had paid good money for.
Every now and then (better do it again soon) I burn my books to a CD. I don’t trust ANY company to look after my best interest. Suppose company A is a great company. They hit hard times and get bought out by a company that says "Sorry folks, rules have changed."

All in all I would say that Diesel is a great company blindsided by the publishing industry You lost some books that you had read. Think of the money that they are giving you (and I say giving not returning) as a generous gift from one of the better companies.

OK. I just burned all of my ebooks to a CD.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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At Diesel you can't even use a gift certificate to by geo restricted books as they still require a credit card number to certify. So unless you have a US card you are completely stuck.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:16 PM   #12
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Every now and then (better do it again soon) I burn my books to a CD. I don’t trust ANY company to look after my best interest. Suppose company A is a great company. They hit hard times and get bought out by a company that says "Sorry folks, rules have changed."

All in all I would say that Diesel is a great company blindsided by the publishing industry You lost some books that you had read. Think of the money that they are giving you (and I say giving not returning) as a generous gift from one of the better companies.

OK. I just burned all of my ebooks to a CD.
Someone here mentioned a site called dropbox.com where you can store files (they give you 2GB storage for free) and coordinate them between computers. So all of my books are in a Calibre library in dropbox directory on two computers and online at dropbox.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:19 AM   #13
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That's even better.

That way your protected against fire, theft, and whatever.

For what it's worth, I checked the CD and it's almost full. Next time it'll have to be a DVD.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:36 PM   #14
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With diesel I take it you haven.t got tthe email link the send before it goes in your library
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:24 AM   #15
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My wife I have just got back from an interstate holiday and there was several emails from Tamara and and a nice refund in my Paypal account. Good customer service Diesel, thanks!
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