A couple of weeks ago, right after Amazon launched its Kindle store in Brazil, I got upset when I realized their doors weren't open for me. I'm Brazilian, but I live in California, so it wouldn't matter that I wanted to read books written in or translated into my native language―as long as these books were only available at Amazon.com.br, I wouldn't have access to them because the "passport" on my Kindle says that the device is registered as a U.S. resident.
In other words, I'd have to change the current address of my reader on Amazon.com in order to be allowed to buy books at Amazon.com.br. Then, if I wanted to buy books available only at the U.S. store, I'd have to "update the passport" once again. Apparently, the laws of physics also apply to a device meant to read digital books: The Kindle simply cannot be in two places at the same time.
I kept an eye on the issue to see if any changes would come in the following weeks. Maybe it was just a glitch and, once the Brazilian Kindle store started to operate more smoothly, more books in Portuguese would come to the main store and the territorial restrictions would be lifted.
Well, I'm glad to say that, yes, the number of books in Portuguese available at Amazon.com is increasing exponentially thanks to the creation of the Kindle store in Brazil. Restrictions still apply, but it's a welcome improvement.
For example, someone in my situation (reads Portuguese, but is physically outside Brazil) can now read Trilogia Cinquenta tons de cinza, the Portuguese translation of the "Fifty Shades of Gray Trilogy." I think I'll pass 'cause it's not my thing, but it's a good example of the translation of a bestseller now truly available to readers of that language worldwide, notwithstanding their geographical location.
Isn't that the main perk of working with digital books that do not demand the printing, shipping and handling arrangements of their paper-form counterparts?
As for my own reading pleasure, I've already bookmarked titles like Matthew Quick's O lado bom da vida, the translation of "Silver Linings" soon coming to a theater near you, and Abu Fobiya's T. zombii - Gravação dos Mortos, which was originally written in Portuguese by Fábio Yabu, a Brazilian writer and cartoon creator working with children's stories, under the pseudonym that he uses for his gory material.
Apart from that, I've recently gone through the publishing process as well (more to come on that in a couple of days) and I have been able to take a look behind the scenes. As I had mentioned in my previous post on the subject, editors have the power to publish their books worldwide or restrict them to a given territory. Here are two screen captures that show exactly that:
(Here's where publishers select whether they have worldwide or territorial publication rights)
(Here's where publishers select the book price in each market)
Kudos to Amazon then, for creating a platform that does facilitate the democratization of access. Kudos to the Brazilian publishers that are now aware of the process and making their books―be them originals in Portuguese or translations of bestsellers―available worldwide.
Let's now hope that all publishers understand the process and stop putting geographical restrictions to their titles, thus taking advantage of the true purpose of digital books: Wide availability.