It’s very, very annoying. Trust me.
Or no, don’t trust me. Rather, witness this Twitter conversation between two serious book lovers and geeks who happen to express themselves in English, even writing professionally in that language, but don’t live in a dominantly English-speaking country.
Says Aliette de Bodard, a French-American sci-fi writer who lives in Paris, where she works as an IT engineer:
I’m getting tired of the ebooks I want not being available outside of the US or Canada…
Charles A. Tan (sci-fi writer, blogger and editor, in Philippines) answers:
and that’s the irony of eBooks; not available in areas that has demand for them
yeah, they really need to rework their rights model (geographical distribution shouldn’t apply anymore to books-maybe language?)
(Emphasis mine, as below.)
Language is fine. Unfortunately, companies and laws are still regional.
yeah, I know. Sucks for us, though…
Obvious consequence of such restrictions?
Enters @theefer (Sébastien Cevey, a French sci-fi writer who lives and blogs in London):
Time to put on your pirate helmet? (could buy paper versions and offer them to friends if you feel morally awkward)
I am seriously tempted, and not for the first time. This is bloody ridiculous…
Indeed. That’s one of the reasons I dislike DRM « protection » so much on e-books. If the publisher wants to restrict the sale of their products to one geographical market (say, North America), they have both the technical tools and the legal right to do so. And they have the on-line retailers like Fictionwise, Booksonboard or Amazon filter the buyers from their IP addresses.
If one is outside the rights-holder’s zone, the message received is a loud and clear: « Go away, we don’t want your money! Or go back to the dead tree era, you loser. »
(No pun intended.)
Now, compare with John Scalzi’s essay/rant: « On How Many Times I Should Get Payed For A Book (By Readers) »…
Buy one paper book, download a DRM-free e-edition, and piracy concerns be damned?
Tempting, very tempting.
Obviously, this issue won’t be resolved by authors or even authors’ fans alone. But publishers should be concerned about the bad e-book buying experience of their customers, especially when these customers are bloggers, journalists or writers who can give it a wider echo.
And authors’ agents too should give it a chunk of their brain-time if they want to do what’s best, in the long run, for their book-writing clients.