Regional punishment for digital content

I want to see the end of preferred regional pricing and availability for digital content. There is something inherently wrong about the concept that a digital product costs $X in one country whilst it costs $Y in another country.

I recently read The Oatmeal’s latest comic where he lambasted the film “World War Z” for having absolutely nothing in common with the book barring the title. I thought I might just check out the book and see what it’s like before I go watching the movie.

So I login to Amazon.co.uk and see World War Z in the Kindle Store for £3.46 (about $5.28). Great, that’s a nice price. Then I remember that as I live in Cambodia I should buy from Amazon.com 1.

I move to Amazon.com and check out the World War Z product page. The Kindle Edition is $9.12 (about £5.97) – nearly $4 more expensive than on the .co.uk page. This is unusual, most times it is the other way around and it’s preferential for me to buy from .com than .co.uk, but either way it makes utterly no sense – it’s the same fricking thing AND it’s digital.

And here’s something to laugh at even more – the physical book on Amazon.com can be bought for $7.49 on Prime or $5.18 ‘new’ – the physical product that requires paper, printing, distribution, warehousing and delivery is nearly $4 cheaper than the digital product which has a tiny storage cost and negligible bandwidth costs per purchase.

Does this make any sense? No it doesn’t.

I imagine the real people to blame here are the publishers/rights-owners but this sort of regional preferential pricing for digital content occurs all over the place.

  1. In fact, even when I lived in Ireland I used to buy Kindle books from Amazon.com but they have since changed that policy

Comments

  • John Braine

    Get’s even worse, if like me you are an Audibook fan, mostly with availability. Huge amount of Audiobooks you can get on audible.com and not on audible.co.uk and vice versa. There was at least some kind of logic years ago why you had to buy a regional DVD (even though regional DVDs were also nonsense).

    What makes it even more laughable is how easy it is to simple register a US address on amazon/audible.com so you have access to the same catalogue. Just shows how ridicilous the whole geographical licensing divide is, in the age of the digital.

    • Yeah, it’s definitely not just pricing issues. I had the same thing. I was living in Cambodia and Christmas was approaching. As I was so far away from home it made sense to create a big wishlist of ebooks for my family to pick from.

      I later found out that half of the books that people wanted to buy for me they couldn’t – not available in your region (but was available in the Asia region). This included stuff like Iain Banks novels – strangely available digitally in Asia but not Europe.

      None of it makes any sense to me and makes me very annoyed with publishers/distributors etc