To Torrent, or not to Torrent? That is, indeed, a question.

Last week I finally lost it with Amazon.

After not getting the Fire (any variant) released officially to Australia, then finding out that the PaperWhite isn’t available for shipping to Australia I was a little annoyed. I could live with it though. After all, a Samsung or ASUS tablet will probably be more suited to my needs, and my old Kindle Keyboard works fine… even if I can’t read it after dark in the back garden.

But then last week two more things happened that sent me over the edge.

First, I finished the first book in a series – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. I loved it and wanted to get the second book. But no. For some reason the second book isn’t available to Australian customers on Kindle. Even though Patriot Games was released 25 years ago and second hand copies can be found in any second hand book store in the world. Probably. Although I can’t be sure on that one.

Why the hell would I be able to purchase some books in a series but not all? I cannot fathom this at all. I know there are some restrictions because of different digital rights in Australia compared to USA but the series is from the same publisher! Why would it be fine for one book, but not the next?!

The second thing that had me jumping up and down muttering archaic curses upon my formerly beloved Amazon was to do with a pre-order.

I am a huge fan of the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and as soon as a new one is announced and available for pre-order, I do. This, as it turns out, is not the way to do things. Not only does it appear that the Kindle version was released, at least in Australia, a week after hard copies here and versions in USA, but it seems that the pre-order was priced at $14.something, while the Kindle version was actually released at $9.99. And you can bet that if I hadn’t cancelled my pre-order, Amazon would’ve charged the pre-ordered value and not the actual release value.

I spat it and had a small rant on Twitter.

My dear friends suggested that maybe I get with the times and look at torrents.

Which I duly did.

And discovered I could download not only the second book in the Jack Ryan series but 51 other books by Tom Clancy, in one neat little .zip file, and all for the low, low price of, well… um, zip. (see what I did there? Yeah, I’m all about the comedy.)

Suck it Amazon.

However, I’ve been thinking about this over the weekend. And I have a problem downloading books from torrent sites.

I know authors like James Patterson and Tom Clancy have enough money that they could use it as insulation in their many houses, but these people have worked long and hard to produce their books. They deserve to be paid for that work. Even if I have to pay them through a company like Amazon.

So, what have I decided?

I haven’t really. I want to do the right thing by the authors, but I also don’t want to have to hunt for books in second hand book stores every time a lawyer somewhere decides Australia can’t have the digital rights to a certain book because his wife forgot the pickle in his sandwich or because the dog peed in his shoes. (I’m sure the reasons are better than this but I’m not convinced!)

So, my two (if I’m lucky) blog readers; what do you think?


One thought on “To Torrent, or not to Torrent? That is, indeed, a question.

  1. This is the dilemma we all face with all forms of media available for zip on the Internet. I too occasionally feel guilty that someone isn’t getting compensated for their hard work and efforts but then I remember how Australia is treated like some third world leper country in regards to the arts (television, film, literature etc) and I get over it a little. I make an effort to support lesser known productions in every medium and am passionate about my support of Australian films and the like. If the businesses behind these art forms did their jobs better and realised that we are living in the future then we wouldn’t have to have these guilt attacks.

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