Will eBooks Change Regional Distribution Rights?

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

While book publishers are used to the distribution rights based on region, consumers are not. And as shopping for eBooks is more about being online than what region of the world you are in, publishers may have to come up with a new model for international eBook rights.

In a Kindle forum this week, Amazon customers expressed frustration at the inability to buy Kindle books from the Amazon UK site (which is fully accessible in the US) to read on their Kindle in the U.S.

James Scott wrote: “Right then. I was trying to get a few of the UK titles to read on my Kindle on PC. I live in the US and it refused to sell me the titles I wanted. What I want to know is ‘why’? Why can’t I buy from the UK site? There are some authors who sell exclusively in the UK market and that’s what I was after. Does anyone know the answer to this question?”

Mira Kolar-Brown, wrote: “It very much depends on publishing and distribution rights for individual books. Most indie/self published kindle or tree books are available on both UK and US sites, but publishing houses have to abide by a variety of rules.”

One poster named cynthia wrote: “For some idiotic reason the ‘Point of Sale’ for ebooks is the customer’s location not the stores’. So if a U.K. publisher has only a U.K. copyright he can only sell to people IN the U.K. not to people in the U.S. Stupid law. The point of sale should be the location of the seller not the buyer but that’s the way it is right now.”

How do you think publishers can resolve these regional barriers and sell books worldwide?

To answer the question posed in the headline, not as long as there’s money to be made in the sale of territorial rights.

Don’t beat up on the publisher who won’t sell you the book where you are. Set your sights on the one who’s selling the print book where you live and not supplying ebooksellers in your region with an ebook.

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