Monday, 1 November 2010

Ebooks from Waterstones - the story continues

Dear Ms Griffiths,
Thank you for your email. Waterstone's is a UK based bookseller and bound to honour the rights agreements of the publishers that supply us. To comply with international publishing rights agreements we have removed the ability for overseas customers to download eBooks from We apologise for the inconvenience, and will pass on any comments to the relevant publishers.
Hope this helps.
Kind regards, Customer Service

From: Jane []
Sent: 26 October 2010 13:41
To: info
Subject: Re: eBooks from
It does in fact quite seriously inconvenience me.  I live in France, and my opportunities to buy ebooks in English from French sites are very limited.  Could you please explain why you have done this?
Jane Griffiths
Sent from my iPad

On 26 Oct 2010, at 12:53, "info" wrote:

Dear Customer,
We see from our records that you have previously purchased an eBook from 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.
Please note: Your previously purchased eBooks are not affected by this and will still be available in your ‘Digital order history’ in your online account.
Kind regards, Customer Service

The contents of this message and all attachments have been sent in confidence for the attention of the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient you are kindly requested to preserve this confidentiality and to advise the sender immediately of the error in transmission. Waterstone's Booksellers Limited, Registered Office Address: Capital Court, Capital Interchange Way, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0EX. Registered in England, Registered No: 610095


Anonymous said...

How can they think that their latest letter 'helps' in any way whatsoever?

Book apartheid.

Anonymous said...

I thought the European Union freedom of trade overrules protectionism within countries.

jane said...

it gets worse - sig other last night ordered a physical book from them and guess what - they are dispatching it no problem

Jonny said...

Anon 3:07 makes an interesting point. As sig other's order shows, usual rights agreements now have to cover the EU, with other territories (US, India, South America, though Brazil is weirdly different, etc.) covered by separate agreements. I can't see any legal reason ebooks are any different. Waterstone's are either lying (quite probable), or have illegal rights agreements with publishers (quite probable, too).
Books are treated as any other commodity across the EU. For instance, there IS VAT on books in Britain as per EU agreements, it just happens to be zero rated.