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Old 09-18-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
ronw
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Restrictions on Books Sales

I am getting thoroughly annoyed at International Restrictions on eBook Sales.
Until recently there was some sanity for us in New Zealand that we could use W.H. Smith in UK They would list all their books and state where they could be sold to. Many of the books I wanted were available to be sold in Australia/New Zealand and you could see this on web site before you tried to purchase.
N ow I have just received an email from Smith's saying we can no longer sell our books outside of UK. They offered some weak excuse saying that it was because of vat etc but that seems silly as it should not apply to books especially if they are being sent overseas.
We now have almost no avenues here that we can purchase eBooks from.
An absolute stupid situation that makes buying a Reader pointless
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:37 PM   #2
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I feel you pain. You might want to try joining the Free Library of Philadelphia, which is $15/year even for international folk. They have an extensive library of epub ebooks and have been adding more weekly.

I know it's not the same as being able to buy exactly what you want to read and getting it *now*, but it's an amazing deal.

-Marcy
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:33 PM   #3
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Whitcoulls doesnt have what you need?

Can you purchase from Angus & Robertson? Kobobooks? Waterstones?
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:05 AM   #4
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It'd be good to get a -real- explanation of why some publishers refuse to sell outside of certain borders.

I know with print-production there were frequently 'budget prints' which were limited to poorer countries but I just don't see the true logical reasoning for eBooks.

Maybe they're worried they don't have a legal backing for handling piracy outside of their own country?

Either way, we don't have that on our own productions

http://elitadaniels.com - Tree of Life (Part I); They shall age like us, they shall die like us
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:49 AM   #5
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No Whitcoulls has almost nothing. They seem to go for a few chick lit type books or popular novels way after everyone else has read them. I doubt whether Whitcoulls are even interested in the ebook side of business. Ever since they have been owned by an equity company the stores have been pretty depressing. They have next to no non fiction books. I want to be able to read a review and head off to a book store and buy. Amazon certainly have the stuff I want in stock but they will not sell many books to New Zealand for same reason. Silly thing is that Amazon will sell any print books to us but baulk at ebooks.
The story gopes that authors only licence their books to certain publishers in certain countries. So an American author might licence Harpers in USA but choose to licence the rights to Collins in UK.
While on the surface that makes a certain sense when you consider that many of the book companies are owned by the same person Rupert Murdoch then he is certainly in a position to say we will only accept books that can be sold anywhere. At the end of the day authors only want slaes and why should they care where the sales occur as long as they get their money.
The alternative is the pirate market and if authors don't wake up they will be in same position as movies and music. People will be honest if they can do so at reasonable price and ease of access.
Apples Itunes is a case in point. Once the access and price were reasonable people used it in their millions.
The movie companies went the other way and tried to keep films out of the video market until they were so old that no one cared. SO people pirated the movies and now the moguls are screaming and trying to set up streaming sites to capture a lost market. A bit late I think
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:51 AM   #6
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Restrictions on Books Sales

Nope both sites refuse to deal as soon as they see your credit card and ip address they stop the sale. There are ways around that but it is time consuming and a pain


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Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
Whitcoulls doesnt have what you need?

Can you purchase from Angus & Robertson? Kobobooks? Waterstones?
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:37 AM   #7
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In the olden days of sail (no I'm not kidding) it would cost a lot to ship a significant number of books around the world. So the rights to publish a book might be sold by a British company to someone in the US or Australia.

Then there's the language problem. The UK company may not feel competent to publish a book in Polish, or some other language. So the rights get sold to a Polish publisher, and they do the translating and printing.

I think that's how international book rights began.

The publisher wants to sell the rights to publish a book in New Zealand or Australia. They DON'T want to ship it to New Zealand or Australia. Remember, if a book stays on the shelf too long the store wants to send it back to the publisher. Ripping the front cover off, and sending that back, was a cheaper solution than sending the whole book back to the publisher.

Next comes the lawyers.

If a UK ebook seller can sell you an ebook in New Zealand, why would a New Zealand publisher buy the rights to publish that book? So the original publisher and the New Zealand publisher want to prevent that.

This is mostly a WAG. But it seems to make some sense to me.


The music industry didn't get straightened out until there was enough piracy to make them want to fix it by removing the DRM and selling it to anyone with the money.

Maybe we should go back in history with Abbie Hoffman's book titled "steal this book". Just a thought.
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:18 AM   #8
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I'm in Australia so I do share your frustrations. I've only had my eReader for a week and have only purchased 4 books so far but have found Waterstones and Book Depository will sell to me quite happily - these are both UK stores. The range varies though and quite a few titles I want aren't available in eBook format but if they are available the stores will sell to me. Waterstones seemed to have the bigger range from my limited browsing (I tend to read non-mainstream crime fiction - lots of translated stuff and some historical fiction too).

Cheers, Bernadette
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:22 AM   #9
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Bernadette,

What about the author's sites directly? I would imagine as more authors become independents (or rather, as we get -new- authors more are choosing to be independents) the availability of global, non-DRM ebooks should rise up. We're doing this for our books.

Still, it'll be nice when one day everyone can get any book from anywhere at a reasonable price. . . but then I'm dreaming.


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Old 09-19-2010, 04:46 AM   #10
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MrPLD, author sites is an avenue I haven't tried yet though I can imagine I will do so in the future. Of course the problem with that is you have to go to every author's site individually and then there are the luddites who have no websites or awful ones. For new/younger authors this is probably not a problem but I still like to read stuff by people over 40 every now and again and I am astonished at how poor the online presence is for some of these. Also I think there's a genre disparity, I've noticed that it's mostly sci-fi and fantasy authors that are the most up to date in terms of offering ebooks either through booksellers or from their own sites. It's just a shame that I'm not into either of those genres right now.

Cheers, Bernadette
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPLD View Post
It'd be good to get a -real- explanation of why some publishers refuse to sell outside of certain borders.
They don't have any choice in the matter. Their contract with the author only permits them to sell in certain specified countries.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ronw View Post
I am getting thoroughly annoyed at International Restrictions on eBook Sales.
It doesn't make any sense at all, does it. There is money in my pocket just yearning to find a new home in some publishers bank, but they imprison it in my pocket rather than let it travel. Stupid.

Any way, have you tried the Australian sites http://www.readwithoutpaper.com/ and http://www.borders.com.au/ ? I've had some success there, and also at http://www.directebooks.com/

Another alternative is to look at sites which sell ebooks by less well known authors such as www.bewrite.net/ - Neil Marr is a member of MR, and very generous. And Baen books at http://www.webscription.net/ is very good for Science Fiction. I've also bought a few books from Double Dragon Press.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Alex

Last edited by AlexBell; 09-19-2010 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Fixed a dumb typo
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MrPLD View Post
It'd be good to get a -real- explanation of why some publishers refuse to sell outside of certain borders.
A combination of two factors:

1. Contracts between publishers and authors are often restricted to certain countries. Something like: publisher A can sell in America, publisher E can shell in Europe.

2. For digital downloadable content (ebooks), it is considered that the act of sell/purchase occurs not where the seller is located, but where the purchaser is located. I'm not sure which particular law/treaty/convention says this, though.

The real issue then comes when publisher A offers an ebook, and publisher E doesn't. With paper books that's not a problem, because you could always buy from an online bookstore in America, and have the book sent to you by mail. But according to the 2nd factor, you can't do that with ebooks, you have to actually travel to America for that.

People complaining about geographic restrictions often blame everything on the 1st factor, and want the contracts to be renegociated and global distribution rights being acquired by the publishers... I believe it would be easier and more logical to abolish the 2nd factor instead, which just doesn't make sense.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:42 AM   #14
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Alex, thanks for those links - I'm going to go over and check them out now.

One issue I have to be careful of initially is not spreading things out on the sales too thin, that is, a lot of sites have a minimum payout figure, so it'd be a royal shame if you get 2~3 sales on each site in a short time but never enough to push it over the payout mark.

Paul.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronw View Post
I am getting thoroughly annoyed at International Restrictions on eBook Sales.
Until recently there was some sanity for us in New Zealand that we could use W.H. Smith in UK They would list all their books and state where they could be sold to. Many of the books I wanted were available to be sold in Australia/New Zealand and you could see this on web site before you tried to purchase.
N ow I have just received an email from Smith's saying we can no longer sell our books outside of UK. They offered some weak excuse saying that it was because of vat etc but that seems silly as it should not apply to books especially if they are being sent overseas.
We now have almost no avenues here that we can purchase eBooks from.
An absolute stupid situation that makes buying a Reader pointless
All the media companies appear to want to save people in Oceania money, so we don't spend it on that frivolous entertainment junk.

More cash for the important stuff.

Or beer.

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