Sunday, May 6

This Blog Post is Unavailable in Your Country

When you spend a fair amount of time frolicking or skulking around the World Wide Web, it is sometimes hard to remember that, much like in the real world, there are walls and doors and locks barring you from doing whatever you please.

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.


Alexia561 said...

Never thought about this, but you're right. It would be great to read the British version of Harry Potter!

I think the limitations on where you can buy eBooks has something to do with publishing rights, as different publishers might own them depending on the country. You would think digital content would be worldwide, but apparently not.

Hope the publishers can figure this out soon!

Nicole said...

Places like Book Depository take away from the worry of physical books, but yeah, eBooks are weird. I don't read them, but hopefully they'll figure something out so people can buy other versions of books.

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I know a few friends who are irritated by restrictions on ebooks, it seems so ridiculous that we're able to order a paperback to be delivered to Australia, but I can't buy the ebook!

Thanks for dropping by our blog, we're now following you!

xorengenox said...

God damn it, I hit this so hard when Angelmaker came out. ):<

Kah Cherub said...

that is VERY annoying. I have to go through the same thing. :(

Giselle from Book Nerd said...

Oh wow, I never thought about the restrictions in other countries. I would get so sad too if I couldn't find the books I wanted. I really hope the publishing industry realizes this. With a click of a button they can have digital copies for sale all around the world.

Great post btw!