These "not available" messages always seemed a bit odd considering the product we're seeking is electronic and the country we are in share the same official language. We're willing to pay whatever the rate for the book in local currency and have always wondered why this is not even an option.
Today, during an enlightening panel about the future of eBooks, we learned why some titles are available as eBooks in some countries, while in others they're not. Surprise, surprise, this has to do with the legacy of print books retail arrangements. Getting a paper book into another country requires much legal work, including mundane, but necesary details like shipping. Publishers work out international rights for various books which is why a title might be carried by one publisher in one nation and a different publisher just one country over.
We can see why this procedure makes sense for paper books, but we do think that it does not really work for eBooks for consumers. With a digital delivery system in place in today's "small world," it seems incredibly ridiculous that an eBook is not available because one has hopped on a plane to another country. We can understand if a title is not available in another language due to a translation that has not yet prepared, but the barriers of digital availability based on geographic location just seem to us book loving folk to be rather artificial in 2011. As one Australian reader summed up after today's panel, "we get that it costs a lot to ship a paper book to us, but really do we have to have less eBooks available to us as well?"
So what's the eBook loving traveler to do? We recommend:
Loading up ALL of the titles you are thinking of reading/ buying before leaving home. We tend to continuously overestimate how long it takes for us to go through eBooks, so if you also have this problem, throw an extra eBook in just in case. It's better to have a great reading selection settled on your device before leaving home since you don't know if the titles you'd like to read will be available in your destination's eBook store.
How do you handle buying eBooks while abroad?
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)