Australia's ACCC seems to be far kinder to the large publishers than its US counterparts. Apparently this wonderful organisation has so far refused to pursue complaints in this area.
Consider the new releases section on the following sites:
These are two Australian retail stores which operate in other areas but have opened ebook stores. They are noted for their competiveness and reasonable pricing, including frequent discounting. Prices on the front page for the new releases from these stores start at $14.99 and go up to $31.60. A random sample checked on Amazon Australia showed identical prices. If I am correct, Australians who do not circumvent geo-blocking will face these identical prices across all available retailers.
In other areas, notably software, Australian authorities have been critical of geographical restrictions. A Parliamentary enquiry foreshadowed the possiblity of legislation, amongst other things (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-2...rosoft/4850484
). In 2011 a spokesman for the then Attorney General indicated that circumventing geographical restrictions in Australia was not per se illegal (http://www.netflixaustralianow.com.a...a-a-vpn-legal/
). Choice, a local consumer organisation, offers Australians instructions on how to circumvent geographical restrictions http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and...geoblocks.aspx
I would also comment that, for people so inclined, I would be surprised if there were many of those new releases not available as pirate versions, and probably with much less inconvenience than circumventing the geo-blocking.
I also wondered about titles published in Australia, but looked at only one, a fairly heavily promoted piece of crime fiction by Candice Fox. I would love to be able to say that I have read it and recommend it, but cannot do either, as I am not prepared to be ripped-off to this extent. I checked further and discovered that this book has not so far been released in the United States, and is not expected to be released there until some time in late January 2015, at least in ebook form. Amazon UK shows only a Paperback with a Kindle icon on the right and a "tell the publisher" caption. So far, it seems the publisher has not been listening. I imagine that there are other Australian published books where a similar "strategy" is being followed by the Publisher. One can only speculate at the reason or reasons for this approach, though I will refrain from doing so here other than to express my doubts that there is any benefit to either the potential readers or the author.
I hope that this serves to remind readers in the US and other countries what they can expect from a return to agency pricing. Amazon is not perfect, but is imho far better than the effective oligopoly that has dominated publishing for so long. Amazon may in the future become the evil monopolist some charge it even now is. However, there are some hopeful signs that it will not. And if it does, it can be dealt with then. And would we really be any worse off anyway?
And finally, imho Agency Pricing generates very powerful competition for BPH's, in the form of piracy. And some of these pirates may be motivated not by profit but by idealism, and offer their product for free. So please, BPH, remove the flag holders walking in front of that new-fangled automobile, take off the brakes and embrace the new opportunities you have been given. If you don't, you can be sure others will. Amazon already is, and look at the results so far.