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Old 09-19-2010, 08:11 AM   #16
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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
At the moment to circumvent the geo-restrictions of the new WH Smith store you only need to use an UK address as account address and as credit card billing address.
The billing addres is not verified at your credit card company, and there is no IP-address check.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:40 AM   #17
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I myself think that this whole regional restriction on purchasing is retarded. However, we have the copyright lobby to thank for that. (Ie, movie companies, book publishers, music labels, etc) The idea behind region locking sales (which is the same as region locking DVD's and the like) is to control sales on a regional level. Since prices and copyright laws vary from country to country, the companies that release this material are violently paranoid that you will "steal" their product and underprice them or some other horrible "atrocity" that will prevent them from fleecing you till you bleed.

It's also setup that way to prevent you from going to another country where prices are lower (say China for instance) because of economic or other reasons, and purchasing it cheaper. The items are cheaper there, or in some cases even allowed to be sold, for specific reasons. Over 90% of the time we have absolutely no idea why the prices and features and whatnot are different, but they are. So in the end, the only way that we'll get around this whole region locking issue is if the world all agrees to one unified price plan, and one unified copyright scheme.

Person, I want neither. All I want is the ability to buy from wherever I want at whatever price I want. If the companies get the world wide unified price and copyright scheme (which is what the ACTA treaty is attempting to do) they want, we're all screwed beyond mention. Well, more screwed than we are now anyways.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:44 AM   #18
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I myself think that this whole regional restriction on purchasing is retarded. However, we have the copyright lobby to thank for that.
It has absolutely nothing to do with copyright law; it's a simple matter of contract law - if an author signs a contract with a publisher granting that publisher UK-only distribution rights, then they will be breaking the terms of that contract if they sell outside the UK.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:56 AM   #19
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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.
Not true: I tried to buy several paper books on Amazon but could not because of my location. I live in Bosnia.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:02 AM   #20
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HarryT: They would agree to limit their book to one geographic location!? I find that hard to believe. (I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just not inclined to believe it) Any author in their right mind would be foolish to limit their book to one geographic location. I've told my publisher on every occasion I want it available worldwide, and not just the US. Even if only 10% of the world's total population could or would read your book for whatever reasons that may be, that's still a lot more than the potential readers in your single geographic location if the 10% rule still applies.

So in the end I'd rather have 700 million potential readers (yes, I realize that maybe 1% of those would actually consider buying the book, or be able to, but bear with me here) than 35 million (350m US citizens, minus the 10% rule, equals 35m potential readers). And yes, those are insanely unrealistic numbers. But if you go with the wide area method (the greater the area covered, the greater the chance of success), your potential book sales will grow accordingly, as likely will your true sales as well.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:05 AM   #21
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HarryT: They would agree to limit their book to one geographic location!? I find that hard to believe. (I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just not inclined to believe it) Any author in their right mind would be foolish to limit their book to one geographic location. I've told my publisher on every occasion I want it available worldwide, and not just the US. Even if only 10% of the world's total population could or would read your book for whatever reasons that may be, that's still a lot more than the potential readers in your single geographic location if the 10% rule still applies.
Not everyone is as farsighted as you, Steve. It is the norm, rather than the exception, for published authors to sign separate distribution deals for the US and UK, for example, simply because they can make more money that way. And if it so happens that one of those publishers doesn't "do" eBooks, you can get the situation where an eBook is available in the US but not the UK, or vice versa.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:16 PM   #22
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:46 PM   #23
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And considering 4 of the big 6 publishing houses are European owned, creation of European Union, free flow of people and workers, fewer currencies, and advanced technologies one would think geo restrictions in European and Commonwealth nations would be nonexistent.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:11 PM   #24
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They don't want your money, so they lose nothing if you just download it for free somewhere. End of problem.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:17 PM   #25
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They don't want your money, so they lose nothing if you just download it for free somewhere. End of problem.
The publisher most certainly does want to sell you the book, but they cannot simply ignore the legally-binding contracts that prevent them from doing so. You can rightly say that such contracts have no placed in an internet-connected world, and you'd be right, but still they ARE there and cannot simply be ignored.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:11 PM   #26
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The publisher most certainly does want to sell you the book, but they cannot simply ignore the legally-binding contracts that prevent them from doing so. You can rightly say that such contracts have no placed in an internet-connected world, and you'd be right, but still they ARE there and cannot simply be ignored.
Now I can finally understand the ACTA and all other efforts to combat piracy. It's a lot easier for them to take actions against the "pirates" than to address the problems with publisher-author contracts/global internet purchases/geo restrictions. And they can also make themselves look like saints in the process, even possibly make money in the courts from lawsuits that are in some cases possible because of their own actions. What a wonderful business model.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:25 PM   #27
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On a more practical note (because whinging about geo-restrictions makes everyone feel better but doesn't actually fix anything), I can say that here in NZ, Whitcoulls (which is the same as Borders Australia, and anything Kobo will sell downunder) now has a reasonable selection of ebooks from Penguin and Random House, but are (apparently) still working on the other major publishers. I hope it won't take too long.

Its still not a great selection, but its getting better, and the prices are (surprisingly) actually pretty reasonable, often at $11-15NZ ($7-10US) which is just over half the standard paperback price. Of course there are exceptions, but maybe we just need patience (never my strong suit). In the meantime there is Baen, Smashwords and others that don't worry about where you live ...
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:46 PM   #28
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HarryT: They would agree to limit their book to one geographic location!? I find that hard to believe. (I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just not inclined to believe it) Any author in their right mind would be foolish to limit their book to one geographic location. I've told my publisher on every occasion I want it available worldwide, and not just the US.
Even if you as the author want world-wide availability, the publisher may decide to sub-license to a different publisher in some part of the world unless you have a specific clause in your contract to prevent them. And then that sub-licensed publisher may decide to charge AUD$30 for the paperback and mysteriously take their time about releasing a AUD$10 ebook :-(

This isn't hypothetical, I've talked to an author that had this happen to her, without her knowledge.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:57 PM   #29
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Ugh, well, I've been cussing at local/domestic resellers who are deciding that they should charge over $50 AUD for a book that's meant to be selling for $24 AUD - good thing we sell it directly as well but it's a bit crazy when this happens

Good thing eBooks at least avoid the accursed freight charges (which makes up a lot of our base price on the book).



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Old 09-19-2010, 11:28 PM   #30
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It does make you wonder if the agency 5 publishing houses actually realise that geographic restrictions would certainly contribute more to the increase in ebook piracy than DRM ever has.

Or maybe they do and simply do not care. Preferring to cry "foul" and "woe is us" when they discuss piracy issues without trying to make the changes needed to an anachronistic distribution and rights model.

When you attempt to buy an ebook from an Australian author and you are an Australian resident and cannot, something is clearly not right.
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