You're Taking My Money (You Don't Have a Choice in the Matter)

I was looking for a new book to read recently. I’m nearing the end of  my current one, and I shall miss the thing. I didn’t really know what I wanted to read next, and I just stumbled around for things that had the potential to catch my interest. For some reason, my mind wandered to  a cartoonish kind of Norse adventure tale I’d read in 2008, and I was surprised to discover that a sequel was released fairly recently. The original was a big book, and I supposed that its successor would be possessed of similar heft. Maybe it doesn’t really matter; I don’t even like to carry small books around.

 

In any case, I went to amazon.com and discovered that it wasn’t in the Kindle store. This seemed contrary to the claims on the author’s site about its digital availability. Because I am a desperate fool, I even deigned to check the Canadian version of the site. I soon realised that it wasn’t available in any North American channels of digital distribution. I’ve experienced the horrid annoyances of Canada’s foolishly xenophobic approach to imports before, but America has always seemed to be a place without real restraints on entertainment access. If it’s available anywhere in the world, it’s usually available there.

 

Well, that’s true if it’s in English at the very least.

 

However, the long list of nations in which this electronic novel was available contained neither of these two bastions of the western world.

 

Fortunately, I discovered that Amazon’s process for changing one’s country of residence is the easiest thing in the world. I got an address and postal code from a large toy shop on Regent Street and downloaded the book with haste.

 

Things were fine? Seemingly.

 

When I next checked my email, I was bemused to find a meekly worded message from some sort of customer service robot. This note informed me that there seemed to be some traces of illegitimacy in my claims of immigration, and I was told to assuage their doubts with proof of citizenship.

 

By fax.

 

Because of publishing rights.

 

I don’t . . .

 

Mother of balls, Amazon! I just want to buy a book! That’s “buy”, a word that is semantically distinct from “steal”, “rob”, “pilfer”, and many other nefarious verbs that convey the idea that the authors or their corporate benefactors would somehow lose something by way of my desire for literary entertainment. The damned thing wasn’t available here; thus I was forced to travel through the dreamy medium of the information netherworld like some sort of cybernetic psychopomp and set up a fictive summer home beside a British bookstore. I did this to give you money. Keep that in mind. I did it to give you money that you would not accept anywhere in the digital domains of my home continent.

 

Maybe you should calm down.

 

Thank you.

 

Now I’m going to read this book, and I’m going to enjoy it. There will be monsters, magic, and all sorts of crazy letters. It’s going to be great, and on this occasion, you can’t stop me.


Melodramatics for the win, you bastards.

 

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.