Article | Sony Reader store and US only titles :(

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I think I mentioned this but in case I haven’t I had received a Sony E-reader at the beginning of March as a birthday present.  I have been a little on the fence about this as I haven’t sunken down into reading it for long bouts of times. I have turned it on, flipped around and then gotten out.

Now when I first received this and browsing the Reader store there were books available by Nicholas Sparks in both the Canada and the US.  I am using him specifically because I know that these books were bought in the Reader store in Canada by my sister.  Now I am looking at the Reader store and all of Nicholas Sparks’ books are US only.  I wrote the company asking about this, but I am not getting any clear insight into the situation.

The thing is this is very upsetting to me.  I wanted to start acquiring my booking habits through the reader.  My book purchase level would significantly increase if I didn’t have to be concerned about shelf space.  Books I normally wouldn’t have purchased would now be purchased because I no longer had to save space on my shelves.  It would all fit electronically.  However, a LOT of the authors that I am very interested in are only available in the US.  And I could swear there was more than just Nicholas Sparks that used to be available everywhere.  Except I don’t have any concrete evidence of other authors.  I am not the only one who has noticed the change:  http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=1082975.

Apparently they are working on it. This may or may not have to do with the release of the iPad and the stir this has created in the digital book market.  This may or may not have to do with the agency models that are being presented and the change in e-book price point. There are a lot of possibilities as per why this has occurred but no clear answer.  The Sony Reader website has the following answer:

We apologize for the inconvenience of not being able to purchase your desired title. Currently, we receive the majority of our content from U.S. based publishers who do not always have the legal rights to sell their books in Canada. This may be due to the fact that the book may be owned by a different publisher in Canada than it is in the U.S., or that there are no Canadian rights to distribute the book in electronic format. We are working hard on adding more Canadian content and you should expect to see more books become available in the near future.

And now as the consumer, we are being affected by their inability to offer a consistent product.   A more effective press release explaining further the details regarding this would be greatly appreciated.  The problem is not simply that the titles are US only, it is that they were previously available in Canada.  I have sent several e-mails in regards to this and I continue to get the same answer as above.  They are not addressing the issue of titles that were at one point available in Canada that are no longer available.

I have tried searching the Internet for further insight into the situation but unfortunately there have been no press releases in regards to this situation.  I further find this frustrating.  One of the things I found very impressive about the MacMillan/Amazon situation was their willingness to let the public know that they were indeed addressing the situation even though they both had different ideas of how they wanted to resolve it.  They were very forthright, and it was solved in a relatively timely manner.

I have not found any projected timeline as per when the Sony Reader store shall resolve its issues.  I have asked.  I wait.  At this point I doubt that they will provide a clear answer.

Personally I am really looking forward to the day that the markets open up and realize that the more widely available the merchandise is the more successful their business models will be.  I hope that this is soon resolved.  I would hate to have a reading device that is little more than a paper weight.  I look forward to resuming business with Sony, however until they offer the titles that I am interested in Canada, they will not be benefiting from me as a consumer.

I greatly hope that they are able to provide further insight into the situation.  If I receive any I would love to share it with you.  If you have any, please let me know.

Thank you.

EDIT:  I just found this blog link:  http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2010/04/01/thursday-midday-links-new-blog-state-of-the-day-ebook-report/ Which to me suggests that this is more publisher based than reader based.  However, why they are still allowing titles to be available in the US and no where else has not yet been addressed.

EDIT:  Finally found some info at the Sony sight regarding this debacle:

Questions: How is the pricing of eBooks determined?

Answer:

With more digital readers than ever before, publishers recognize that eBooks are the future of their industry. In support of this growing industry, some major publishers will be adopting an agency pricing model on April 1st, which puts them in control of eBook pricing.

The Reader Store will remain committed to providing readers greater access to the widest selection of digital reading content. Since the inception of Sony’s Reader Store in September 2006, it has introduced a wide offering of new releases, bestselling eBook titles and newspapers and now features access to more than one million titles and links to borrow eBooks from local libraries nationwide.

What is the new “agency pricing model” and how does it affect your prices?

As a result of this change, bestsellers and new releases from these publishers are changing in price on the Reader Store. Although most of these eBooks are now priced around $12.99 to $14.99, there will not be a broad pricing change across the Reader Store. In fact, new releases and bestsellers from other publishers are still priced at $9.99.

Note: For this new agency pricing model, different publishers require different systems to be in place. As we transition to these systems, some titles may be unavailable. We will have these systems up and running as quickly as possible to offer you the widest selection of available eBooks.

Still the Irony that it is only Canada being affected by this.  Truly a frustrating time for a consumer.  I simply feel sorry for the authors who are being affected by this kerfuffle.  Also I am truly impressed that this problem is being addressed under pricing issues, as opposed to title availability.  Some truly creative information burying going on.
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About Julia Muldoon (PiscesMuse)

Lover of exclamation marks, YA novels, tea, and knitting. Nerd enthusiast. Costumer extraordinaire. Occasional dog walker of two stinky Basset Hounds. Aspiring writer. Gym goer/health conscientious. Advocator of JamieJam Sundays. GF/Wife to Cowboy, the person who adores my crazy. All around procrastinator with a long to do list.

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