Friday, 30 September 2011

Amazon and region restrictions

The maddest I have ever been at Amazon is when it told me I was not allowed to buy a particular ebook because it was available only to UK customers. It is only available in electronic format, and I am prevented from reading it because Amazon says so. Why? Shut up and get out, that's why. We don't want your filthy Australian dollars, thanks. But I discovered later that I can buy it from the US Amazon site. So what I really have here is a fractured user experience. Is Amazon one global company, from which I can buy what I want, or is it a a few companies obeying local laws? I was on the UK site because they have free shipping to Australia now for orders over $25, but I'm not allowed to buy everything there, because the UK site is only for UK customers. Or Australians who want free shipping, but not ebooks. No, for those exact same ebooks, you need to go to the American site.

I guess the problem is that it is very clear to me that I am not buying a book here. I am using a website that represents a publisher that has certain regional interests that need to be protected who happens to have a relationship with Amazon who has agreed to sell a book under certain conditions. There are so many layers and lawyers between me and the book that it doesn't feel like shopping any more. I need to navigate through the rat maze first, and then I get the food pellet. Hey, Amazon, I came here to buy a book. Do you want my money or not? Their answer, apparently, is "Yes, but only if you find out the right way to give it to us."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I sincerely hope someone is working on this.
PPS - Because if I can buy something digital from one Amazon site, shouldn't I be able to buy it anywhere?

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