Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada and, as always, Canadians have a lot to be thankful for. The Great Recession has been tough, but it appears that we haven’t been as badly hit as other countries; the United Nations recently ranked Canada as the fourth best country to live in; and the Canadian dollar is flirting with par with the US dollar, meaning that vacations in warmer environs (like Florida) are cheaper for us this year. But we still can’t buy a Kindle.
Picking a day like Thanksgiving to launch into a diatribe over something as trivial as the inability to buy a gadget in Canada might seem in poor taste, but hey, Monday’s my day on the pulpit and this latest indignity just went down last week.
The fact that the Amazon Kindle can now be purchased in over 100 countries that aren’t Canada is just the most recent annoyance. Someone in the Falkland Islands can buy an International Kindle, but I can’t (at least not legitimately). Nothing against the Falkland islands, but Canada shares a border with the US; most books sold in North America are printed with US and Canadian prices on them for crying out loud. I don’t know whether the disconnect this time is over wireless coverage or yet another fight over copyright issues, but it’s getting old. I don’t even want a Kindle specifically -I think it’s butt ugly compared to some of the alternatives and I don’t appreciate its DRM (I am considering a Sony Digital Reader, which can be purchased in Canada)- but I don’t like the idea that I’m not allowed to buy one.
Part of the reason I’m so ticked this week is the added insult of reading the BoingBoing post about Mojo Nixon and Amazon offering his entire catalog in MP3 format for free. The Amazon bit led to a sinking feeling that killed the buzz somewhat. When I logged in to Amazon and tried to download my Mojo fix, only to receive the familiar “not available in Canada” message, it was deja vu. The same thing I get any time I want to watch a show on Hulu. Or listen to a song preview on Rolling Stone. The AppleTVs in our house are our primary audiovisual entertainment hub, but until a few months ago, the iTunes Store was pretty much limited to CBC and a very thin smattering of “classic” content from US networks. Recently, selection has begun to take off- we can finally get The Office now, but at $2.49 an episode (Apple’s not big on acknowledging the almost at par currencies, but that’s a relatively minor quibble). I don’t know what finally cleared that logjam, but it’s appreciated.
I’m a GeekDad, so I know how to get around technical barriers if I really wanted to, but that’s not the point. The US and Canada share what we like to refer as “the world’s longest undefended border.” It would be nice if the border were made a little friendlier for technology as well.
Oh, if you’re reading from the North side of the border/electronic divide, Happy Thanksgiving from GeekDad.