Who is this?

Technology Editor of Times of London until July 2010. Now swimming in the freelance shark pool, with abiding interest in games, gadgets and what it all means. If you're looking for product reviews, head elsewhere. Unless it's a really nice product. This is more of an attempt to sift out what matters from what doesn't. With a bit of gossip thrown in for good measure. I'm also learning to use Blogger as I go along, so please bear with me.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Why won't book publishers take my money?

This week, I have been trying to buy a book online.

As a long-time admirer of American author Joe R Lansdale, I wanted to read Vanilla Ride (above), the latest comedy thriller featuring his heroes Hap and Leonard.

As a way of saving space, I decided to acquire the eBook. I use eBooks for classics I've always wanted to read but couldn't be bothered to lug around, and for books I know will gather dust once read.

Should be a snip, buying an eBook like this. Take 10 seconds, I thought. Guess what? It can't be done (without subterfuge or lying).

Everywhere I turn online, "copyright restrictions" mean that this eBook cannot be sold to someone in the UK.

Fine, so where's the UK eBook? There isn't one. Why not? Joe Lansdale doesn't currently have a UK publisher.

I can if I choose, buy the American hardcover from Amazon UK for £11. But I can't download the self-same book in a digital format.

Have publishers learned nothing from the music and film industries?

Here's a suggestion for the Luddites and lawyers in charge of the Knopf Publishing Group (Lansdale's US publisher), and for any other similar copyright holders out there.

When confronted by the potential of digital publishing, don't make your first reaction to close it off.

Instead of thinking: "This threatens our traditional model, how can we restrict it?" Try thinking: "This is really exciting. How can we make the most of it?"

I have a hunch that you'll make more money as a result. Certainly, in my case, $14 more.

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