So, I got a nice message from Dymocks the other day offering me Kerry Greenwood’s Cocaine Blues in paperback for AU $22.99. Nice price for a paperback in Australia (although I would need to add on some extra for postage). Maybe when I am back in Sydney later this month I could pick up a copy. I do like a nice piece of crime fiction and the fact that this was set in the period of Wooster and Jeeves, although in Australia, I thought it might be worth a look. The description also sounded good:
The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher – she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions – is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism – not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse – until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.
Well, I’m sure we all like a hot, steamy Turkish bath in Little Lonsdale Street. Then I noticed the silliness. Recently I’ve taken to e-Books over the paper version, especially for the pulp and historical fiction I enjoy reading. Save a tree, etc etc. There was a link on the page to Google eBooks for a version of this for AU $19.99. OK, not so much of a saving then. What was annoying though was the following:
We could not add this item to your cart. Your computer appears to be located outside of the Australia. Sorry, our Google eBooks catalogue is not available for purchase outside of Australia.
So, it’s not that I am not in Australia but that my computer appears elsewhere in the world. What a crock of s***. If I wait a week, then my computer will be in Australia again and I can purchase it. Or I could start my VPN, select “Australia” as the end point and then purchase it. How idiotic of the publishers and Google (I’ll probably find the Google rank of Thomo’s Hole falling as a result of this).
Just in case you wondered where all this was leading – well, Australian publishers enjoy extra, non-market force protection in Australia which means that Australian bookshops are forced to buy from those publishers first. Australian bookshops are doing it hard as a result because they are no longer competitive against international bookstores. Proof?
The same book from Book Depository published in 2007 costs AU $13.91 delivered to me in either Singapore or Sydney. Big difference isn’t it.
Of course, the annoying thing is that I can’t buy an electronic version of it yet as it is not available on the Kindle, where I am sure it’s pricing would be around $10.
Protectionism sucks – if the book is good it will get published, it doesn’t need price protection. If it’s crap, why should it get price protection anyway, it will just end up in the remainder stores. Let the reader decide, not the fat Australian publishers.