A few days ago I wanted to buy a copy of a book ‘Stormrage’ by Richard A. Knaak. I’ve got a Sony Reader and also often listen to audio books on my iPhone, so naturally I was looking for a digital version of the book, either audio or text. Paperback was already released in print back in February and it is available to purchase on Amazon.
But to my surprise I could not find eBook version on any of UK online eBook stores. Audible doesn’t have it either. I’m afraid that currently in UK the only way to buy this book is to buy a print version. That would have been just fine perhaps just a few years ago, but now so many big names in tech industry as well as smaller companies are pushing eBook reader devices. But how do they expect people to have a satisfactory experience, if there is no good way to get a recent content on them?
Another issue is the environment. One of the main reasons why I decided to purchase an eBook reader is to do my bit for environment and save the trees. But I can save the trees only if I will purchase a digital editions of the books instead of print.
In United Sates on the other hand eBook market is more mature. There are a few quite successful eBook ecosystems, such as Amazon Kindle and Apple just recently launched their own iBook Store. Talking about Amazon, the book I’m looking for is available in Kindle format and audio book is being sold on Audible US too. I wanted to find out the reason why it’s missing from UK store, so I’ve sent and email to UK Audible, enquiring about the issue. I got a reply with usual stuff that publishers have different rights in different regions, and sometimes they choose to publish different editions at different times and so on and so forth. But I was quite surprised that at the end of the email they told me that to speed up UK audio book release I have to contact the publisher directly! Never before I’ve heard about contacting publisher if you want to buy a book. Besides it’s not a limited edition or a rare publication, but a regular fiction book released a good two months ago. I’m not asking for too much.
This even makes me slightly regret buying an eBook reader at the first place. It is useless without content same as TV is useless without signal.
Out of curiosity I decided to check if ‘Stormrage’ is available on BitTorrent. Not surprisingly I quickly managed to find both PDF version of eBook as well as an MP3 audio book. This rise some questions about piracy.
Companies complain about the it, but they often leave customers no other viable option but to pirate. Instead of releasing more and more eBooks and encouraging people to buy them, they just largely ignore the market. Of course file sharing systems can quickly fill this space. It looks like eBook market just remains the hobby for publishers. But who are at loss? As always consumers.
Obviously this all is just about my experience trying to find just one book. But it’s a fact that the number of eBook available in UK is significantly smaller then print editions.