Distribution Rights v Reader Rights

Two e-readers (image courtesy of Bobbi Newman, via Flickr)

Two e-readers (image courtesy of Bobbi Newman, via Flickr)

Dianna Dilworth at eBookNewser wonders whether ebooks will change the way books are sold across regions.

The question has particular significance for Australian publishers and readers. English-language publishing has traditionally divvied licenses to distribute and sell titles between different territories. What happens when a book is a digital file in a server that can be accessed from anywhere? How does the local industry juggle its own interests and those of readers?

Late last year, John Birmingham weighed in on the debate in an article for ABC Online: “Copyright restrictions bar anyone in this country from ordering many, if not most of the e-book titles available on the US or UK websites of companies like Amazon. Instead we are restricted to the much thinner pickings of those titles which have been approved for distribution in Australia. We also pay more for the same books, despite there being no practical difference in the cost of digital distribution.” Making more e-books available within Australia will increase the uptake on e-readers.

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