Not Available in Canada

This morning, I wanted to buy a new book when I saw it featured on Goodreads and was intrigued by the description. I clicked the link which took me to Amazon.com, but was greeted with a now familiar message:

I dutifully obeyed the implied instructions and went to Amazon.ca:

Oh.
Kobo.com didn’t have the title at all, which is something I’m also used to dealing with. I dealt with the same issue just last week, going through the author directly. He offered to give me the books for free after I explained the hassle, but I refused, paying him through Paypal instead. I want to support authors. I want to legally purchase their products but someone won’t let me and I don’t understand why.
Since Amazon.ca opened its virtual doors at the beginning of the year, it was made clear  that we Canadians might have problems with content. There have definitely been issues, but they are so inconsistent. I, who do not own a Kindle, have still been able to purchase some digital books for my Kindle for PC and Kindle app for Android through amazon.com. Other ebooks are met with the detour and sometimes the subsequent wall displayed above. Supposedly, the problem isn’t with Amazon, but with publishers and how they choose to distribute through Amazon – but that doesn’t seem right. I suspect that, like me, the .ca introduction is forcing publishers to jump through some hoops too and either through choice or ignorance, they are missing the opportunity to reach a broader audience.
While I find it strange that digital products have such distribution limitations, I accept that there are rules and regulations behind the scenes that I just don’t know about. In my ignorance, I can’t help but think “People around the world want to buy your books, so why not make the digital versions available worldwide on the worldwide web?” Piracy remains a major concern for so many products, yet customers who legitimately want to purchase items are being prevented from doing so.
I’ve spent the morning discussing the issue with friends and doing some research, but the internet has been strangely quiet on the subject since the introduction of amazon.ca in the early months of the year. Fellow blogger Tiara has had numerous discussions with authors and others on various publishing topics and the conclusion I’m getting is that no one really knows what the answer is. Presumably the problem is being addressed, as digital rights – well, digital everything – is a huge topic that has changed many industries. Hopefully, someone will figure out something soon enough so that when I say “just shut up and take my money!” it can actually happen.

1 Comments on “Not Available in Canada”

  1. Pingback: Sunday Musings: To grok is divine | The BiblioSanctum

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