Online Digital Content in Canada – Why we always get the shaftBy
It has been a long standing tradition that Canada get’s the short end of the stick with regard’s to online media. Being that we share the same border, and are so close in term’s of business shouldn’t it be possible by now that The most obvious is if anyone on a Canadian IP goes to a major US network to watch an episode of a TV show online. A single example would be going onto Fox’s website and trying to watch Glee. An error message appears that states that this program is not available in your country. Popular Hulu.com also does not offer service for Canadian viewers. This also translates into music, with major online radio provider Pandora also being unable to play due to licensing considerations.
Now these are all fine and dandy, they are online and most people know they aren’t avail to Canadians. We get by, there are other options, its a free world and the internet is as infinite as the imaginations powering it. When purchasing an eReader you are not just signing on with the manufacturer of the technological hardware, but also the online stores, and support services. Due to more publishing complications, nearly a third of books that are available in the United States are not available in Canada. These aren’t just lesser known book’s either, these are some newer hit book’s that the publisher’s have just opted that we don’t get to have access to.
Further investigation also revealed that the companies themselves know about these availability deficincies. Apple’s iBook and iBookstore FAQ questions asks, “Is iBooks available in every country with an App Store?”. The response being. “Yes, iBooks and the iBookstore are available in all App Store countries. iBookstore content varies by country.”
Even look at Barnes and Noble, their popular Nook E-Readers are heads over tails better then most other ones out there, but try and order a Nook online to ship to Canada, no go. If you manage to buy a Nook via Shop e-Readers or Ebay, there is no way to even buy Books unless you fake an American address and use your real credit card.
Looking at the eBook and e-Reader industry leader Amazon, Canadians again get the shaft in eBook selection. The Canadian eBook store has around 530,000 books VS. the American version which has 760,000. Now you may think, its probably older titles or classics that fall through the cracks, not so. Authors like Malcolm Gladwell, whose best-selling books like The Tipping Point and Outliers are all available to Kindle users in the U.S. but not Canadians. Also to even buy the eBooks, you do not use Amazon.ca you have to use Amazaon.com and all books purchased are in US dollars, and not Canadian.
This doesn’t mean to say that the companies themselves are being malicious. There is legal restrictions in some countries as to what content can be sold, and going even a step further, some Author’s just don’t want to be published in more then one country. At the end of the day though it begs the question, “Can’t we all just get along?”