Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's not easy being...


From vampires, I'm going to segue into SF. First, let me say, being a scifi fan abroad is not easy. (Being a SF fan who's a broad isn't easy either, but that's a different post.) For starters, books need to be special ordered and shipping paid. When we order from Amazon, it costs as much in shipping as I pay for the books. Ouch!

So maybe e-books are the answer? But DRM makes my life difficult. Not all e-books work on all readers (and it's not the same to curl up with an e-reader as having a paperback's heft when on the couch). You can't entirely replace the tactile feeling of a book: the smell of fresh paper, the slick cover beneath your fingertips, and the weight of it in your hands as you flip the pages. You also can't hug an e-book when you finish a book and you have that totally-in-love feeling. Mind you, I do love the e-reader for immediate gratification and I'm highly curious about this one.

Even trying to keep up with the new crop of TV series can be complicated; episodes air four to six weeks late when they air at all, and not all series make the jump to international markets. We lost track of Battlestar Galactica so many times (it kept shifting day and time) that we were so behind we gave up and are resigned to buying the DVDs (which are also hard to find.)

There are significant markets for books, shows and films outside the U.S. more than happy to pay a small premium to get our fix. And we have the technology to distribute content relatively easily across borders.

So what do you think stops us? Why do companies market solely to the US? Many times, if you try to purchase (purchase, mind you!) digital content outside the US, it will tell you that market is not supported. Is it because they think every international customer is sitting ready to purchase their first copy and then bootleg a billion more? Isn't there something we can do? I welcome your thoughts!

6 comments:

Brandy said...

Some expressions and ways of thinking are pure American, maybe they're thinking that an international market won't understand much of it?

zabet17 said...

Being Canadian, I think that many US companies are losing a huge market. I became obsessed with the idea of an ereader earlier this summer. The first review I read was for the kindle. Once I fell in love with the idea of a kindle (and was willing to fork over the rather high fee) I discovered that Amazon would not sell to Canada. I bitched and complained for a few weeks (and tried everything I could think of to find a way around it), then I found and bought the Sony Reader. Now I don't think I would ever think about buying a kindle. So Amazon has not only lost the one time revenue from selling the reader, but the continued revenue from buying kindle books. When you consider how many other Canadians are in exactly my position, that really adds up.

Natalie Hatch said...

Didn't you know we're all pirates over here? LOL. Bootlegging is our specialty (note to self: get some funky Angie boots).
I don't understand why either. It costs $20+ to get a book shipped here, and I've only done it a couple of times because the cost is just not worth it.
Heather over at The Galaxy Express blogged about sales and ebooks etc recently. I must say it is easier for me to go that route than pay $$$ for a paperback to be shipped here. But here's the kicker. Kindles and Sony REaders haven't been released here at all. They've been humming and haaing but we still can't get them. So I sit loyally in front of my laptop reading Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair chapter by chapter.

Jess Granger said...

Wow I feel for you guys. I have no idea how to get around that one.

Jess

Ann Aguirre said...

It really puzzles me. I have to laugh because I'm with you, Natalie. Not everyone who lives outside the US is a pirate!

MaryK said...

There was a post on Dear Author about this recently. It seems to be some convoluted electronic rights issue. Like some abroad publisher has to buy the rights and sell it themselves. Crazy.