March 6, 2014

Random Ramblings: Out Of Region

You may have noticed my tweets lately about NetGalley and its update.

It's been a while since they updated the site to add flags to the books and the option for publishers to add preferences. It goes like this: Members in _____ are preferred. Out-of-region requests will likely be declined due to territory rights.

The states usually mentioned are UK, US, or Australia with New Zealand. And don't get me wrong, I understand this. Mostly the books come from these states, and territory rights are a big issue here. But what if you do not live in any of these states? I usually get an email with a decline, along with a tip to try the other-country version. And I get neither. I think I requested 3 different copies of Panic by Lauren Oliver and got none.

Is there no out-of-region version? There are a LOT of users of services like NetGalley and Edelweiss for instance, that live in other states. Like the rest of Europe. Where do we fall in here? There's a lot of European bloggers, and big ones, too. And we'd love to get ARCs sometimes as well, to read something before it comes out officially.

Every time I log on NG now, I am afraid to request something because of the flags and preference wishes. Do I click UK or US version? Do I wait if another comes up? Do I try both? Do I try neither and just live with it? Do you think me greedy? Please don't. I don't request much, and only books I am really sure I'd like or ones that I have been waiting on for ages. Now I request even less because I am afraid to request. Is it even worth it? I have been declined for all the books I requested since the update.

Before the update, I got a few books. I don't get all, I don't even get many. I also started to request less because I have a lot to read, still. But sometimes a book comes on I have been waiting for for months. And I get super excited, and I wish to get it as much as everyone else. But due to being out of region, I am declined. And quite frankly, I don't find this fair. It's e-books, it costs nothing to send them. And if you wish me to hold with the review for the pub date, I will. Not a problem. But it'd be nice to even be able to get a copy. We live in 2014. Globalization is in full swing. We can share anything and everything online. Yet there are still territory restrictions.

Why were territory rights rarely an issue before? I won't name names, but I have been recently declined by a publisher that previously approved all my requests without a problem. So what changed? I haven't moved, and neither have they, yet suddenly I don't qualify anymore because of territory. Are rights really such a big issue here? Can someone explain this to me?!

Don't even get me started on 'We do not ship to Slovenia.' I live in Europe. In 2014. And I can barely get anything online. It recently happened with The Works. I love how their books are cheap and I'd like to share this joy despite living across the pond. I had my basket full of books, a promo code and everything. I was 2 steps away from buying a box of books I have been wanting for a while. Alas, nothing happened besides me disappointingly closing the page down. No shipping to Slovenia. I cannot even get some of these books in my country. And I am probably not the only one. So having an online service that would help me with that would be super helpful! Not to mention I would be paying for it. I am prepared to PAY. So where is the problem? Again. 2014, people.

I am pretty sure a lot of fellow bloggers can find themselves in this post. I really wish book world would be a bit more flexible for foreign readers. Isn't it a goal to spread the books as wide as possible? To make sure anyone anywhere can enjoy them? Sadly, we're still far from there.

I am not writing this to rage, or to point fingers and be mean. I am just pointing out how inflexible the world of books can be. We all she the love for books. So why would you 'discriminate' the majority of the world? I wrote this in hopes for a change, not to make anyone out as racist or any other silliness that might jump in people's minds at this. It's just a show of how globalization is sometimes failing miserably like we're still in 1999.

On a happier note, happy World Book Day! I hope you're reading something fabulous!


22 comments:

  1. I understand that some publishers don't want to send physical ARC's out abroad because of shipping costs. In the UK I'm pretty sure they just pay a lump sum to the Post Office every year and then everything they ship out goes under that so it's understandable if they don't want to pay even more on top of that.

    I think the problem you might be having with eARC's is the ownership. Like if Bloomsbury (just to pick someone random) don't publish in Slovenia but another publishing house publishes the title you want (but later in the year and don't send out ARC's) who technically own's the rights to give you a copy of the ebook? I think it can probably get quite messy which is why they need to sort it out and make it clear to bloggers how it works. Just because you live in Slovenia doesn't stop you from promoting books to American or British consumers who will buy books from those publishing houses so they will still profit at the end of the day so they need to come up with a system that allows eGalleys/ eARC's to be distributed globally.

    And I can't imagine how much it sucks to not be able to get The Works shipped there. I remember your frustration over Twitter. I understand if they want to charge you a bit more for the shipping but to cut you out all together is rotten. I know you and Leah (Uncorked Thoughts) are close so could you maybe ask her if it's OK to ship the books to her house and pick them up when you come to the UK for London Book Fair?

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    1. I understand all that but I don't get how it wasn't a problem before. I was getting all kinds of books before, but now nothing at all. It's odd.
      As for London, I'd be up for that, and I think Leah wouldn't mind either, but I have weight limitations for the plane and if I go over that I'd pay the books 4 times over. So it's not worth it. Besides, I will probably buy loads in LDN anyway :D

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    2. Maybe now that Netgalley have made it so you have nationalities they can't pretend they didn't know you were from Slovenia? And fair enough :P Stupid weight restrictions on planes.

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    3. Ah yes, could be that. It's a little frustrating though! :(
      And I know! I think I'd pay 60% of two-way plane ticket for over-weight suitcase. Insane!

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    4. Just as an FYI, I am totally fine with that :).
      And with postage, I know AR use franking machines and there is a huge cost difference between shipping UK and INT, but I know of a few EU bloggers which seem to get some books from US and UK. I'd recommend keep trying with your contacts, who knows what will happen :) xx

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    5. I don't need paper books, and I get it costs a lot to send them here, so I will never begrudge them that! But eARCs... Bleh.
      I know, I'll keep trying. :)
      **

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  2. It does seem a bit silly, especially as a I'm sure a lot of your audience is US/UK based. I'm a UK blogger but 70% + is all US hits, comments and followers.

    There are some territory rights, where different publishers are publishing the same book depending on the country, but I find I'm usually approved regardless of whether UK bloggers are preferred or not. Maybe big up your blog more in your profile? Or bring your GR account in?

    Cora @ Tea Party Princess

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    1. I am pretty sure I am out of every region, so there's no conflict of multiple publishers in my area. I am out of all areas so one could have adopted me or something :D

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  3. I don't really get why eARC's aren't allowed for people all over the world. When a publisher wants to send ARC's they have higher shipping costs and sometimes they don't have the rights to send it everywhere. So, I get that. But eARC's? It's electronic.. so I don't get why they are so difficult with them.

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  4. I think Iona is right about why you suddenly can't get e-ARCs anymore. Publishers don't want to share a book with someone who won't be able to later buy the book from them. The update was probably done specifically to block you and others. :( I wish NG only showed you books that you could request for your country. I have requested so many books that were UK only by accident (I wish I could rescind a request, because I always feel so stupid when I see that the book is UK only after I click the request button).

    I say make all the requests that you want. I don't think that getting denied hurts your numbers at all. Request away. If I am wrong about this, then don't do it. ;)

    I had another thought. Could you contact the publishers (or the publisher branches) that do produce books for Slovenia via email and request e-ARCs/ARCs that way? I apologize if this is a stupid question. I'm not very familiar with the territory issues with publishers.

    I'm sorry this is so frustrating for you. I wish I could do something for you. :( I do feel that in the next couple of years, publishers are going to have to start seeing their business through a more global lense, especially with the advent of e-books and more authors pushing for DRM-free e-books.

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    1. Honestly, I understand, and I am not mad at them, it's just super impractical if you ask me. Problem is, none of the big houses publish in Slovenia. We have our own pub house that buys rights for translations, and even with that it's more or less 5 % of all YA books ever. If that.
      I think being denied doesn't have an impact, no, but still, it's pointless going back on if I will never get anything else again.
      Besides, the fact that I am Slovenian has been on my profile since the beginning, because I added that myself. I never hid being foreign or faked being British or American. Even before the whole flags business.
      Besides, I tried requesting flagless books, seeing how maybe they do not have restrictions (and since I got their books before) and I still don't get them.
      And also: what does that mean for auto approvals? Will I lose them now?
      I hope it will get better in time, too :)

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  5. Ula, are you on Edelweiss? They are better at approving books than Netgalley. It's a bit of an easier system although the books appear at their website sometimes months earlier or later than on Netgalley. I actually like them more :) And yep, while I just moved to Portugal I'm not changing my address from UK for reasons as these. Territorial rights (which is what it really is) are a bunch of crap as far as us readers around the world are concerned.

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    1. I am, but I never get books on E. Today, I got my first 5, because they were free to download!
      Ooooh Portugal? Awesome! Enjoy! :)
      And yes, I agree. :)

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  6. Even as a resident of the US, I still go to your blog for recommendations all the time. I think you should be approved for these titles if for nothing else than to keep me in good reading. :-) Seriously though, your reach extends far beyond Slovenia, so why not allow you early copies to promote?

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  7. It's been a while since I've looked on there.. since it's an ebook do you have to say you don't live in the US? Maybe you should just say you do live in the US and then you can still get your ebooks?

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    1. I don't think I wanna lie about that, could lead to more serious trouble. And I doubt it'd be worth it! :L

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  8. I live in Bulgaria and sadly, I can relate 100% to everything you write about (: I haven't requested much after the new rules on Netgalley and I'll be really disappointed if I start getting more declines than before. I just started getting approved more often and now this territory rights ... I generally request the US, I've tried UK editions a few times and I got approved only once. Like you I also don't have much success with Edelweiss. I got only ARC from there, but I generally used it much less than Netgalley
    Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestion how we can get more requests approved, so I am just sharing your frustration.
    Still, don't give up requesting the books you want You never know when you might get them :)

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    1. Ah, sorry to hear that! I know how you feel! I got a few awesome approvals - I couldn't even believe my luck, but now this. Makes it even harder because of that!
      I won't give up, no, it's true, you never know when you might get something. Hope things get better for both of us soon :)

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about this -- I can only imagine how frustrating it must be. I agree, in this day of globalization, it seems short-sighted to restrict eARCS based on physical location, when your readers could be anywhere in the world. I don't have any explanations or suggestions -- just writing to express support!

    Lisa

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  10. That sounds so frustrating. I have been interested in a few books but didn't request them because they were Australia only. I'm in the US so it doesn't happen too often, though, and there are plenty of other books for me to request. Have you tried putting something in your profile stating that x% of your blog readers are from the US or the UK or wherever? That might help, and it seems like it couldn't hurt.

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    1. Oh, that % idea is a good one! I might do that, thank you! :)

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