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Joel, think global!

Thru internet, the world is larger than Canada and US combined. As I cannot subscribe to Programmer's Paradise from "old europe" (;-)), are you planning to make your column available somewhere else?

Robert Chevallier
Monday, February 03, 2003

What I heard was that Programmer's Paradise sold their international business to some other company, so they only sell in the US and Canada.

Software retailing is weird that way, it's totally geographically based. For example most US software companies sell their products outside the US through local distributors. These local distributors invest a lot of their own money in advertising, and they won't do this if the customer is just going to go buy the product from the American publisher directly. As a result local distributors usually insist on "exclusive rights" to sell software in their territory, something which is technically against the law in most places (such as Europe) but which they manage to do anyway, somehow.

The net result of this system is that Europeans pay 50% more for their software than Americans, by going through a system of regional distributors who often exaggerate just how much value they are actually adding to the process to justify all the money they take out of it :| It still remains to be seen how much the Internet is going to change that.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, February 03, 2003

As someone living in UK, I also am keen to see your column in Programmer's Paradise, but can't get a US catalog. Perhaps your contract permits your columns to appear on your web site after a lag time of some duration?

Rob Schneider
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

You have to laugh, Joel on Software is available in a gazillion languages but we can't read Joel's new articles in England.

John Ridout
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

For what I know, the European Programmer's Paradise branch was sold to Logicsoft which recently changed is name to PC-Ware, its German based mother company, http://www.pc-ware.de.

It's sad to miss the cartoonish magazines though...

Gertjan de Back
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The reason why the foreign distributors exist is so companies and customers local to them can set up Net 30 accounts or something similar.  Our stuff has been distributed world-wide for years through many of these local folks and, while we are happy to work with them, there is no exclusivity in our relationship - they sell to their local customers who find it easier to deal with them "over there" than with us "over here".  These customers are usually from large companies who wish to run a monthly tab.  There is nothing preventing anyone from doing business with us directly if they wish, and I think this is the way most other companies do it as well.

Programmer's Paradise sold off their Euro business probably because they simply lost their ass on the fullfillment end of the business.  It is hard to play the discount game and not lose money when shipping, customs duty, and taxes all come into play.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

>>>>> The net result of this system is that Europeans pay 50% more for their software than Americans, by going through a system of regional distributors who often exaggerate just how much value they are actually adding to the process to justify all the money they take out of it :|<<<<

One thing to remember is that in the US prices are normally quoted before sales tax, which varies from state to state. In the EU VAT adds about 15% on to the price.

I'd still like to see where you get the 50% figure from; also companies such as Microsoft, although they may use distributers for "retail" products, in practice decide the pricing themselves and inform their distributors accordingly.

The cost of different language versions may need to be factored in also.


>>>>>>>>>As a result local distributors usually insist on "exclusive rights" to sell software in their territory, something which is technically against the law in most places (such as Europe) but which they manage to do anyway, somehow.<<<<<<<<<<,

It is illegal in the EU to limit sales to one part of the EU; that is to say a consumer in Germany for example can buy anything he wants in Spain, but  a trademark owner can forbid "gray" imports. The Tesco versus Levis case is the law on this point.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Part of that difference in price in different markets is just getting what you can for it.

When Windows 95 came out, I remember reading that Microsoft was having to prevent importers from France buying up the French-language version from Quebec.  Windows 95 in Quebec sold at North American prices, while the French versions, of course, sold at European prices.  But the cost for localizing was presumably done once, with just minor variations between.

Andrewm
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

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