UK Ebook Seller Refuses Foreign Customers' Money

from the geo-restrictions-make-no-sense dept

Ah, Geo-restrictions. They've actually been in place in the eBook market for some time, but they've been very loosely enforced. Why? Well, because they don't make much sense, coupled with the fact that the way publishers license digital distribution rights becomes very complicated.

In this case, Waterstone is now declining purchases from buyers outside of the UK and Ireland at the request of their publishers. As the article mentions, this is a bit strange, because UK publishers tend to license rights by language and continent. For instance, you can purchase the rights to distribute an eBook in the [English] language throughout [Europe]. Still silly, but less so than restricting it further by country or region.

Two things that strike me:

1. Why are large publishing firms, several of them multi-national corporations, trying to pretend that a global marketplace doesn't exist?

2. When people actually TRY to PAY for eBooks and are denied....what do publishers think they're going to do? They're going to go through unauthorized means, of course, which produce NO INCOME for the publisher/distributor/author.

Great plan, guys....

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Nov 2010 @ 3:21am

    Re:

    "There is a simple answer to your first question: they want to make the most money possible"

    OK, try this then: I live in Spain. If I want to buy an eBook, I want it to be in English. Being from the UK, Waterstones would be one of the big name choices for that. If I'm blocked from buying English language eBooks in English from them, or other UK outlets such as Amazon, which Spanish outlet can I choose?

    That is, if I want to buy an eBook in Spain, but want it in the English language, which retailer accepts my money? I'm not aware of any, so they have lost my money. It's insanely short-sighted, and does not consider the realities of the modern market (which potentially includes a market hundreds of thousands of British people in my situation, in this country alone).

    "Though the line of thought is flawed, especially if the goods we're talking about is information (however its storage might be)."

    The line of thought is not just flawed, it's immediately and heavily damaging to their needs. They're literally refusing to accept payment for their goods. Not to mention that it also breaks every concept of free trade upon which the European Union was originally founded.

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