eBooks are shaking up traditional rights territories and publishers are challenged with the best way to release their titles in foreign countries, as digital borders are blurring.

In a panel at Digital Book World today called “Will Territorial Sales Become Obsolete?” publishing experts debated the point. Carolyn Savarese, VP of International, Perseus Books Group, said that publishers should respect traditional distribution partners when it comes to getting their books out digitally. “We shouldn’t throw out all of the old rules of the traditional model,” she said. “You should choose your strategic partners well. Publishing may be global, but it is all done most effectively on a local level.”

Andrew Franklin, President of Profile Books in the UK, disagreed. He cited the Australian publishing industry as an example of the problem with global bookselling, as Australian publishers charge higher prices for books available from Amazon.com. “Australian publishers have worked very hard marketing popular books in their region and they are losing margin as the books are shipped in from overseas because Australian consumers are shopping from Amazon.com,” he said.
Jean Arcache, CEO, Place des Editeurs S.A., in France, pointed out that global competition might just be inevitable. “Maybe you will have an engine that will compare pricing all around the world, how can that be geoblocked?” he asked. “The consumer will always push that way, I don’t know how the agreements will be set to avoid all of this.”