When I read the articles like this one: “Are US Publishers Using E-books to Undermine Territorial Rights?” – I can think only of two things:
- Regional (or even racial) discrimination actively implemented by publishers
- Unwillingness to change under the pressure of globalization
What kind of underdeveloped person you have to be, to say the following: “If you can prevent a cardholder from buying an American print edition, you can do the same with an e-book.”. You cannot prevent anyone from buying “American” print edition. I can do that easily, just by going to the same amazon.com.
And I pretty much understand what the person has in mind by saying: “It would upset the whole publishing dynamic if one let the digital edition seep into another market.” – we (publishers) would have less to do, less money earned and finally our business can disappear as such.
However there are couple other things that I do see, which is common to all the publishing industry (including movie, etc.):
- Technically speaking people in different regions are discriminated by not allowing them to acquire the goods on a better price. In many cases you can see that “The rest of the world edition” costs multiple times more than “American edition”. What is it that I’m forced to buy more expensive product? Am I greener than those in “America” or what?
- On multiple occasions you can see that products (books, movies, etc.) may be available in “American edition”, but not in Lithuanian, Croatian or whatever else “smaller country edition”. Once again, I’m not a native English speaker, but still I enjoy movies and books in English. Is there any problem? Why I’m not allowed to buy those?
- Everybody wants to get rich, right? So, why not to charge 5 times for the same thing? Remember the DVD’s. Everything is done to claim more money for the same thing (book, movie, etc.). It is like a firm monopoly on charging multiple times for the same thing. And can anyone tell me, why I’m in the “Region 5”? Well, I don’t like to be 5 …
Today, internet and globalization changes many things: from creation, to production, to delivery. I’m buying the books (or e-books) in the markets, where those are cheaper or available. The same applies to movies. It seems that Blu-ray is going to die before birth and at the same time HD content is available online for streaming or even purchase. And again, internet makes these available to anyone on this planet with an internet connection.
Publishers can try to play old games, but those are not appropriate anymore. If people cannot buy something in one place, they will buy it in another – half a world around. If they will not be able to buy for a reasonable price there – they will just download it.
Charles Darwin said once:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
So the publishing industry either will adapt to the situation or will be extinct.