This week’s eAdventure is a little earlier than usual because today I received an email that has me a little hot under the collar.
The message was from Waterstones, a company from which I have purchased several eBooks in the few weeks I’ve owned my eReader (the text is verbatim, the highlighting is mine):
We see from our records that you have previously purchased an eBook from Waterstones.com whilst having a registered address outside of the UK and Ireland.
We regret that as of 20th October 2010, we are no longer able to sell eBooks to customers placing an order from anywhere outside of the UK and Ireland. We have had to take this action to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories into which we can sell eBooks.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Please note: Your previously purchased eBooks are not affected by this and will still be available in your ‘Digital order history’ in your online account.
Waterstones.com Customer Service
I’m sure I’ll tackle territorial restrictions again in future eAdventure installments but what I’d like to do now is highlight the only people who will benefit from the sending of this email.
That is, people who steal legitimately published books and sell them without passing any proceeds on to the authors, editors, translators or anyone else involved in the creative or publication processes.
Do you know how hard it is to buy a pirated eBook? Not at all.
Without deliberately seeking out sites that sell pirated eBooks I have tripped over several of them, including a couple that look pretty kosher. If you think I’m kidding, check out this article on the entirely legal Digital Reader blog which shows just how legitimate some pirate eBook sellers can look and how easy it is to get hold of such things as pirated J K Rowling books (none of which are legally available in eBook format).
Knowing this (in fact learning it all in only the few weeks I have been actively interested in things eBook related) I am awestruck by the new heights of stupidity being displayed by publishers who have told Waterstones (and presumably other stores) to stop selling books to the roughly 5,945,000,000 people who don’t live in the UK.
Do they honestly believe that their inane restrictions will help their cause (whatever that cause might be)? Do they really think that if they prevent us from buying eBooks legally we will sit quietly and wait the 6 months (or 6 years) that it takes for a book to be made available in our location? Do they really have such a limited understanding of the global economy? Do they not get that in 2010 their territory is ‘people who read in English (or other language of choice) wherever they live’? In short, are they as gobsmackingly stupid as they appear to be?
Publishers answering in the affirmative to these kinds of questions do so at their peril.
Right now the only thing standing between me and an eReading device full of pirated eBooks is my innate honesty. But I have a tipping point and it’s not far off.