Tuesday, November 2, 2010


My world is shrinking around me, contracting like heated cellophane and there I was thinking smugly that the word might be vast but at least it was open and easily accessible to me, so it didn't matter if I lived in Germany or Guatemala, as long as I had access to the internet and an airport, then I could get what I needed/fly to where I needed to be.


Don't you just hate it when the rules are changed or the goalposts moved, but it's possibly worse when this happens and no-one tells you to expect the change, then there's no opportunity of halting such a change (even if I had power) it's a fait accomlpi.

Reading to me is a necessity of life, like breathing or a supply of chocolate or caffeine, essential. Without a book to read I am bereft. It's what I do in any moment of down time and what I do whenever I can (MIL very kindly bought me a little tapestry kit thingy of a golden retriever, because it looks like Logan, well it will when it's done, except it will never be done because if I'm at a loose end I read, even if I'm not at a loose end I read. The only time I don't have a book ready to be opened is when I've finished one and am allowing it to 'settle' before moving on to the next. I am a voracious reader.

Moving to Germany has made the acquisition of reading matter trickier, it requires more planning because surprisingly* the German bookshops have only a small percentage of their shelves turned over to 'foreign' literature, so my browsing along the shelves and inhaling of print has been curtailed.
For a while Amazon benefitfed from this problem and then Simon surprised me with a Sony eReader. It was love at first sight (once I'd got past trying to turn the pages over) hundreds of books in one little package that is smaller than any respectable novel, the only downside is that you can't use it on an airplane when the seatbelt light is on.
Now I could get books from anywhere, what with the internet being all reaching and all, I didn't have to fly to the US to buy books there, I could do it from my kitchen worktop with a cup of coffee in one hand and my Visa card in the other. Bliss.

But as I said, my world has started to close in on me, and I do wonder how close it's going to get.

I have had, in the past, many books from Waterstones, my account is registered to my German address and I pay with sterling from my UK bank account. But no more. Last week I had a shocking email from Waterstones. I was so shocked that I left it a day or two before replying to it (because I felt that I had to reply to it, because if you don't register your point of view, you have no right to then sound off about it**) The email I received said;

"We see from our records that you have previously purchased an eBook from Waterstones.com whilst having a registered address outside of the UK and Ireland.

We regret that as of 20th October 2010, we are no longer able to sell eBooks to customers placing an order from anywhere outside of the UK and Ireland. We have had to take this action to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories into which we can sell eBooks.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause."

I wasn't going to take that lying down, I can tell you. So I enlisted the help of my dad (who's always keen to cock a snook at those in authority) who had a credit card registered to him in the UK that he doesn't use. Tee hee.

Damn and blast those sneaky Waterstones peeps. They can tell my IP address is not in the UK. Good job there are other eBookstores eh?! Might have to go on a bit of a buying spree though just in case that loophole is tightened around me too.

And I thought free speech was part and parcel of a free world? Clearly you have to be prepared to read that speech in the native language of the country in which you reside (or make do with the restricted choice available on their eBook shelves (don't envy the choice of titles my brother living in Libya will have left open to him)

A thought though, how does Kindle get around this? Their big selling point is that you can buy books WHEREVER you are...sneaky deals or ignorant bliss?

Right, enough typing, where's my book?

* please note the sarcasm, I doubt there are many English bookshops with even 1 shelf turned over to 'foreign' literature.
**probably not the gospel, just the way I feel

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