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Waterstone’s halts overseas ebook sales

The BookSeller had this interesting story this morning:

Waterstone’s has stopped selling e-books to customers outside of the UK and Ireland in order to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories into which it can sell digital titles.

I hope publishers realize that they’re encouraging piracy here. When you make it impossible to buy an ebook, do you really expect them to do without? I don’t, nor do I blame the pirate. When there’s no other option, (noncommercial) piracy stops being unethical.

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Comments October 26, 2010 um 9:54 am

Well not quite. Publishers aren’t restricting ebooks sales for international customers. Publishers let international customers buy ebooks, just not from amazon, specifically not at that price.

Here is the proof: anyone can buy ebooks from our website,

Our ebooks aren’t 9.99, but they are available for everyone.

I guess ebooks pricing is the opposite of US medicines prices: medicines in the us is expensive, but just across the boarders, ie in Canada, they are significantly cheeper. It’s the other way around for ebboks. The economists call it market segmentation. As simple as that

Nate the great October 26, 2010 um 10:03 am

Actually, I’ve heard from a couple people who are running out of places they can buy ebooks.

Perry October 26, 2010 um 12:17 pm

I’m not sure we can do anything about piracy, but justifying it because "I want it and you won’t sell it to me" is a bit to far across the line.

I agree that publishers cause the problem by putting geographic limits on sale of ebooks, but if they don’t have world wide rights, they can’t.

The publisher does want to sell book, at least I assume that’s correct. And it’s been my experience that if I can’t buy it at Amazon, I can buy it elsewhere.

papataka has a point.


Nate the great October 26, 2010 um 1:11 pm

Why is it across the line? My reasoning is that if we don’t beat the publishers about the head and shoulders, they won’t fix the situation. We need to highlight the piracy they are encouraging.

How Do We Solve a Problem Like Geographic Restrictions | Dear Author October 31, 2010 um 5:01 am

[…] think it does because depriving a reader of a legitimate path to purchase books makes it an easy battle for pirates to win. Obviously there are the arguments that even those books that are available worldwide are pirated […]

Authors’ Rights Become Readers’ Headaches « Genreville November 9, 2010 um 12:02 pm

[…] Over the weekend I became aware of Lost Book Sales, a site for recording complaints about books that one wanted to buy but could not. The most common reason for lost sales appears to be “not available in my region”. Jane at Dear Author (one of the co-creators of Lost Book Sales) has more on this in two posts, with a succinct summary of her opinion in the first post: Does foregoing digital sales in hopes of a foreign rights sale to a native publisher really make good business sense in today’s burgeoning digital market? I don’t think it does because depriving a reader of a legitimate path to purchase books makes it an easy battle for pirates to win. […]

Jeroen Hellingman February 17, 2011 um 3:10 am

I think it should be very simple, copyrights were once created to encourage publication, which is in the public’s interest. I would say, either use your copyright (i.e., publish) or loose it. If the law isn’t saying now, it is time for a change…

marta March 1, 2012 um 5:33 pm

I am Italian and live in Rome, I speak English, French and Spanish but I cannot buy ebooks in original languages from foreign sites. I do not understand why I can buy the book but can’t download the ebook. Authors are losing money. I pay for the ebook, as I pay for the book: which is the difference? And it is not a mere question of price: there are many ebooks that I cannot find in original language in the Italian online bookshops.
All this is against culture and against legal authors' copyright.

Denise April 15, 2012 um 7:09 am

I am living in france and now cannot download e books any more from Waterstones because of the publishing restrictions. I have tried other sites and had the same problem, with the exception of a site mentioned above at an inflated price. Im taking my Sony reader back to waterstones next time I am in the UK and asking for my money back as the product is not now fit for purpose. That should be interesting!

A good site to register a lost sale:

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