We are now officially living in the future as Apple have finally released a tablet. The name made many people cringe, as it kind of sounds like something that belongs inside women’s underwear when it is that time of the month.
Anyway, it looks fantastic and I’m sure it will be a success. Everybody will want to use the iPad to read ebooks. Ebooks are not available on iTunes instead you need to download the iBooks application and buy ebooks through that. Alternatively you could still buy ebooks online from Fictionwise or somewhere like that. This is a minor irritation compared to the fact that due to geographical restrictions the vast majority of ebooks aren’t available in Australia.
I want my ebook
According to the Fictionwise website ebooks are not available in Australia due to the way the book publishing industry works. The publishing industry has always worked on the idea that the rights of books could be sold to publishers according to geographical region. This idea is basically incompatible with the idea of the Internet, but these contracts still apply to ebooks. Publishers are legally obliged to make sure their ebooks adhere to these contracts.
The result is different publishers produce the same titles in different countries and each individual publisher needs to release ebooks in the different countries before they can become available.
Even if a company wants to sell all ebooks to Australians they can’t. That is correct: I can’t buy ebooks because I’m Australian.
Legally that is
This forces many e-book fans to download ebooks illegally using filesharing networks. I personally do not feel comfortable doing this and would much rather be able to buy ebooks legally.
There is also the choice of buying them illegally by using a foreign friend’s credit card or using IP masking techniques.
The inability to buy ebooks is an irritation for most people, but there are many people who can’t physically read a book. Someone with muscular dystrophy such as myself can have great difficulty holding a book and turning the pages. With an ebook all you need do is press a button or click a mouse. There are mechanical page turners available, but they are very expensive and don’t work so well. I am also not a fan of audio books as it tends to go in one ear and out the other and what about people who can’t hear.
I am hoping that the release of the iPad will increase the number of Australians wanting to read ebooks and this will force the hand of publishers to be more ebook friendly.
I also plan on finding out as much as I can about the reasons why ebooks are not available in Australia and to fight for the rights of Australians to read ebooks.