Probably the most annoying matter, where Apple and Google are the biggest offenders, is the store localization. A better name for this issue is store ghettoization. In the case of Apple, you can access a store only if you have a credit card for the country where the store is located. If you happen to have a bank account and a corresponding address in a different country, then you can enjoy some freedom. But, and it is a big BUT, it does not matter which language you speak: you will get the language of the store where you have a bank account. You live in Italy, with an Italian bank account, but want to speak English and buy items in English? Tough luck. No chance in hell. You just get the Italian site written in machine-translated Italian (I hope it’s that. It would be too depressing to know that there are humans who have butchered the Italian language that in the Italian Apple store), and there will be an unpredictable mix of text in English and Italian, depending on which items are allowed to be sold in your disgraced country.
If it were only the language, I could cope. I could learn to bear it, like a bad smell. But the fact is that some items, for some unfathomable reasons, are not available to the non-US public. The free Movies app, for example, can’t be used by Italians. And the same fate applies to the majority of books in English, which are not even listed in the store available to Italians.
Amazon is also guilty of some similar ghetto practices. There are titles that cost more if you live elsewhere.
Heard of the Kindle daily deal? A low-priced kindle book priced every day. Sounds like a dream:
Until you press “continue”
Google annoyances in this respect are even worse. There is a Google books store available in Italy, with about 100 official titles in English. The other countless books in English are not visible to me. Anyway, I have a Google account, and from time to time I check boos in Google, to see if there is some interesting offering. No way. The prices are always the same, cent by cent, of the other monopolistic booksellers in Italy.
Having an account should tell Google who I am, and what I like, right? It should tell it that I want my listings in English. It doesn’t happen. It should tell it that I live in a country where Google sells books. Unfortunately, when I travel abroad, I see the Google books page in whichever language my IP tells Google I am located in, and I get a message informing me that Google Books is not available in my country. Which is not my country, damn you!
You know what, Amazon, Apple, Google? If readers want to buy a book and none of you makes it available for non-US residents, the only choice you leave them is to get a bootleg copy. Would they feel guilty if they have to get a pirated copy of a book that they can’t get legally? My guess is “not even a tiny bit.”
I hope O’Reilly and similar publishers get a better foothold in the market, and erode the monopolistic advantage and ambition of Amazon, Apple, and Google.