I’ve been resisting purchasing eBooks for some time now because the Australian implementation seemed so utterly flawed and geared towards protecting the local monopolies rather than looking at the consumer. The last time I checked, some dinosaur from the Australian publishing industry was actually suggesting that people should bring their e-readers to their local bookshop and upload it there. And no, this wasn’t in the early nineties sometime, this was two years ago. But then what can you expect from an industry that fights tooth and nail to protect its archaic parallel-import-regulations (see here) when the e-book market is going to well and truly kill it.
Anyway, there’s still some major flaws in the model. Due to geographical restriction clauses in publishing contracts, e-books sometimes take ages to be published in Australia (see here for a great explanation). For some of these e-books, I’ve just pirated them. Yeah, sure I could buy a legal copy printed on compressed organic material from some place I actually have to physically travel to but I could also light a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Unfortunately, not all books are popular enough to be found on torrent sites. Even worse, these books are often not popular enough to be found easily in Australia either. To add salt to the wound, sites like Amazon will list them as available, just not for you.
However, for those books that are available in e-book format, Amazon has made things so easy (and cheap) that I actually bought two books today instead of pirating them. Plus, I want to support the authors (Iain M Banks and Steven Erikson) and their publishers for having moved out of the stone age.