While “Please Make Sure You Are 18” buttons are easy enough to click away or dismiss if you are logged into the site, some material is just not accessible when you live in a certain region. No, this post isn’t about striving to access 18+ materials. Get your mind out of the gutter!
I’m from New Zealand, so I’m familiar with being unable to watch free videos that are only available in the US or play online games for UK enthusiasts alone. However, I’m living in America now and it’s sometimes hard to remember that things I take for granted aren’t available to my international friends.
Books that I can find in stores don’t pop up so readily back in NZ. To obtain certain titles over there, you would have to have them shipped to you. Surely there are more convenient digital options?
Before I came here, I did not listen to audio books or read eBooks. The ability to receive either at the click of a button is astounding. Such a thing could make a huge difference in the ability for New Zealanders like me to be able to purchase titles at the same time they are released in the US.
Only, there are still those locks and restrictions. I tell my friends back in NZ that an eBook or audio book is available and set them off running in the right direction, only for them to smack into a glass wall. Sure, I didn’t know it was there...but I didn’t think to check either.
I was naïve enough to think myself immune to this restriction because I was living in America, only to discover that while I could purchase the Harry Potter eBooks in French, German, Italian and Castellano, I could not purchase them in the original GB English. I had to purchase them in US English, which is about acceptable to me as Castellano.*
This was after I told all my American friends that they must purchase the UK editions of the Harry Potter eBooks. Yep, we all smacked into the wall together.
Is the restriction on digital purchases of books to certain countries a set-back for a title's chance to reach a wider audience? I just think that when I am back from my American adventure, cooped up in my Hobbit hole, it might be nice to access books digitally. Locking so many treasures in a glass box is a little cruel, don’t you think?
*Yes, I am a snob on this issue.