Modern Technology Undone by the Sea

Unusual title for a post right? Well, it will all make sense by the time you read this post. I think.

Earlier tonight, I was chatting with my publisher Todd Brown about sales and marketing and one of the things he mentioned was ACX.com. The amazon affiliate that allows you to turn your book into an audio-book. Todd has used this for a couple of his published works, and told me he fully believes that this is the next step in eBook evolution.  This is something that I am inclined to agree with.

After we finished chatting, I decided to head on over to ACX and check out the lay of the land. Signing in was a doddle. I can use my Amazon details. Perfect. No new usernames and passwords. Then came the choices. Place an add to have someone record your book, or do it yourself and upload the file later. Perfect. Now, I may have a face for radio, but I think I have a voice for silent movies. Okay, maybe that was a little too self-deprecating, but you get the point. I don’t think people want to hear me reading my own book. Anyway, it doesn’t matter either way, because….

Once again, I am held back from using the service because I don’t live in the US. That’s right, I need to have a US address and/or (at least) a US T.I.N – Taxpayer Identification Number. Without it, I cannot do anything on the site. They claim that this will change in the future, but I have heard that before elsewhere but now, some five years later it has not changed, so I do not hold out high hopes. At least not with getting on the bandwagon at any early stage.

It is a real gripe I have that modern technology has made the world so small. In my day job I have a call on a phone smaller than my hand with someone in San Francisco, confirm the details with their head office in Australia email all everybody the summary of the calls, from the same phone, browse YouTube for funny Twerking videos (I have no idea what that is, and don’t care to, but I heard it a lot and thought I’d use it for the keyword.) Twerking twerk twerking twerk. There we go. Yet, I cannot publish an audio book because I don’t live in the US.  I pay taxes in my own country. 42% in fact when it comes to my earnings, 52% if my wages go up too far. But no, that’s not good enough.

The US is only home to less that 5% of the world population. So what about the other 95%? We can just sit back and wait. It is utterly ridiculous.

What are you going to do right? Amazon own the world, or at least think they do, but god forbid them actually make things affordable for those living outside of the US. Whether it is Createspace which will charge me over $50 to ship some copies of my own book to me, and take five weeks to do it  – longer normally – to ACX needing a snail mail address to produce something that is delivered virtually, downloaded and listened to fucking virtually.

Then again, it is probably my fault for not living in America, how silly of my. Amazon, I apologize. You’re not stupid or narrow minded at all, how wrong could I have been.

I think ti is about time that someone stands up for the rest of the world, and affords us the same damned service. God knows we pay enough to use the facilities that are available to us.

Ok, I think I’m done. Unless I decide to come back and add more stuff later. In any case this sentence would stay at the end, so I guess, whenever you’re reading this, I’m still done.

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8 thoughts on “Modern Technology Undone by the Sea

  1. Alex,

    I sometimes forget how streamlined and easy it is for me here. The worst thing I have to deal with is American chocolate (too milky). I hate how a supposedly “international” company can often forget that the word has a larger breadth of meaning than including Alaska and Hawaii.

    1. At least we have good chocolate over here 🙂 It drives me crazy, but the worst part is I keep forgetting than get outraged when I see it. I just don’t get why it is such a problem for them.

  2. That still makes no sense to me. If they have digital services elsewhere, is it really so difficult to have an office if those countries to make it easier on the people there? I mean, really. That’s just freaking ignorant.

  3. The cost issue is one, small reason, I haven’t attempted to use Createspace yet. Based on how much it costs me to buy a dead tree on Amazon and have it shipped out to Australia I can only assume Createspace will cost me even more [if I get say 10 copies of my book].

    Unfortunately, Amazon has us over a barrel because the competition can’t seem to provide the same services. Lulu.com used to be an option but now it’s associated with Author Solutions so that’s out.

    Whether Amazon will acknowledge the rest of the world may depend upon what kind of deals they can make with the countries in those regions [I think]. There must be some reason other than xenophobia because Amazon innovates to make money so I’m sure they’d like to make money all over the world.

    Ah well, I guess we just wait. Or something.

    1. For Createspace that is true, but should still not be an excuse. Shipping does not need to be that expensive. Why not establish a European distribution center to cater to the 95% of the world that doesn’t live in the US.

      Also, what about Audible, (ACX) that is all digitally done, there are no shipping costs. Why do I need to live in the US to make use of the service. It is crazy! 🙂

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