I wanted to purchase an eBook off Amazon today. When I went to pay, the only option was the “One-click ordering” option, which requires a U.S. credit card.
I emailed Amazon asking how I could get access to the book. The response (in part):
I am sorry, due to import/export laws and other restrictions, we are only able to sell eDocs, Amazon Upgrade, Amazon Unbox videos, MP3 Music Downloads, Kindle content, and other downloadable products to customers who use a credit or debit card issued by a U.S. bank with a U.S. billing address. Most product download services also are only available for U.S. customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.
Amazon can ship a physical product anywhere in the world. Yet the easier task of providing me access to electronic content, which costs less, uses less resources, and is made possible by the internet on which Amazon thrives, is not possible because of “import/export laws and other restrictions”.
Is it just me, or does that seem incredibly backward?
The irony in all this was that I wanted to download a paper on internet censorship in China…