Tag Archives: geoblocking

Ebook news digest: book towns, fake news, EU stops geoblocking, Kindle Lite

2018-04-02

News on ebooks, writing and digital media

bookshop of antique books in Spain
Book Towns Are Made for Book Lovers
Atlas Obscura

Journalist Alex Johnson has written a book titled Book Towns that shows communities across the world that have decided to attract visitors and residents with books. This article has some lovely photos of bookshops.

Why fake news on social media travels faster than the truth
The Guardian

MIT researchers have studied social media platforms as far as 10 years ago, and concluded that fake news really spread faster than real news. They also have some suggestions why it happens. Here is a key reason why books are important for understanding the world: researching, analyzing the data, structuring, and writing a book takes time, and during the process fake and real things reveal themselves.

Travel with your digital subscriptions
EU

In its long term mission to create a single digital market to the European Union countries, April 1 2018 is the day when digital media subscription services must allow access to their media streams from any EU country. No more geoblocking within EU.

1 Billion E-Books Checked Out Via Library Distributor
Forbes

Overdrive has been in business for five years, but has already reached a significant milestone. Since its inception, the company has distributed one billion ebooks to libraries across the world.

Travel Guide to Portugal’s South Coast Algarve
Amazon

It seems that everyone wants to visit Portugal now after the southern European country has won a travel award after travel award for the best beaches, resorts and attractions.

Infographic: A Concise History of Publishing
Ribbonfish

This concise history of publishing starts only from the 20th century, forgetting everything that happened before that, but if you want to be brief, be brief.

Apple’s iPad event took me back to school. What a trip!
Cnet

So Apple introduced a tablet targeted at schools. In principle, it is the normal 9.7-inch iPad but you can buy a touch sensitive stylus (Apple Pencil) that has plenty of additional features. The price of the tablet is competitive, but the Pencil has a wide Apple margin included in the price. For ebook reading, iPad’s screen is one of the best if not the best tablet screen available.

Amazon launches Kindle Lite app for basic smartphones and slower internet connections
Android Authority

A lightweight Kindle ebook reading application for mobile phones that have limited memory space and slow network connection. The Kindle Lite is initially available in India alone, but let’s see if it becomes available in other countries.

Younger viewers now watch Netflix more than the BBC, says corporation
The Guardian

For many years, broadcast television companies were confident of the future. Advertising money was converting from print media to digital and broadcast media. The inevitable, however, is happening: digital media in the form of streaming services is challenging television.

European Union stops geoblocking between EU countries

2017-11-25

European Union (the Parliament, the Council and the Commission) has agreed to make geoblocking illegal in specific situations where consumers want to buy a product or service from another EU country. The EU Commissioners who are championing the new legislation see the new policy as an important step towards the Digital Single Market for Europe, a key EU strategy.
cartoon character looks at a computer with an error message
Geoblocking is a technique commonly used by online services that enables a service provider, such as an online shop to block access to their web pages because the customer’s computer seems to be located in another country. The conclusion is drawn from the network address of the customer’s computer (IP address). Another way to block access to services and products is to only accept payments from customers who have a local payment card.

Especially for citizens of small countries, the product and service prices, and also choices for products and services in large European countries are often more attractive than in their home countries. Buying and downloading an digital product from Germany is in many cases a good deal for a consumer in Denmark, for example.

Naturally, language issues may still stop consumers from shopping around in other countries, but English is a common second language at many online shopping services.

Removal of geoblocking doesn’t mean avoiding value added taxes. EU has already earlier ruled that the taxes must be paid in the country of the customer.

The end-of-geoblocking rules apply to three specific situations only (according to the EU announcement):

1. The sale of goods without physical delivery. Example: A Belgian customer wishes to buy a refrigerator and finds the best deal on a German online store. The customer can order the product and collect it from the shop or organise delivery to his home at his own cost.
2. The sale of online services. Example: A Bulgarian consumer wishes to buy hosting services for her website from a Spanish company. She can buy and access the service without having to pay additional fees.
3. The sale of services provided in a specific physical location. Example: An Italian family can buy a trip directly to an amusement park in France without being redirected to an Italian website.

The new regulation does not impose an obligation to sell and does not harmonise prices. It does, however, address discrimination in access to goods and services in cases where it cannot be objectively justified (e.g. by VAT obligations or different legal requirements).

The geoblocking legislation will come into force by late 2018.

At the high level, the new EU legislation is easy to understand, simple and fair. Details concerning, for instance, purchasing digital content products from currently geoblocked stores will be interesting to discover. Many small EU countries don’t have a local Amazon, or another large online store. If someone in Estonia wants to buy a digital product from Amazon.de, the buyer is redirected to Amazon.com. In 2018, the buyer should be able buy directly from Amazon.de?