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Qui habet aures audiendi audiat, Audible!


It’s time for me to say publicly how unhappy I am about this policy of not allowing me to participate in some of the daily deals because I live in a different EU country to the UK. I am from the UK, I travel and work all over Europe and live in Poland, but in Europe we have a special law (ironically in this context) called the Treaty of Rome which grants us four freedoms, including freedom of the movement of people and of services and of goods.

Nothing can override these freedoms as they are lex specialis. The problem is of course, that the EU in its current form is full of good thoughts and ideas which are applied on a selective basis. When they want our votes we are told we have these rights, but afterwards there are 1001 ways in which they are limited, if only by resources but also by all the special interests which really pull the strings. How can it be that in the EU a publisher can release books in one country but not in another? I understand there can be good reasons to limit that. I understand for example “Mein Kampf” being illegal in Germany, but Mary Beard? What has she been saying that would stir shit up in Poland?

This is not the first time, it seems to apply to about one in ten books now on Audible, thankfully not those I already purchased – das fehlte noch!  But this particular one is so ironic I have to speak up about this at last. Therefore the only basis on which I could possibly be not allowed to purchase the audiobook of Mary Beard’s SPQR is that the UK is in the Roman Empire and Poland wasn’t, therefore as this is about Roman times, Ancient Roman laws and not modern EU laws should apply.

Now I know that Mary Beard has had more than her fair share of unfair criticism from online cyberbullies and trolls in her time and I don’t want anyone to think that I might be one of those. That’s why I hesitate to write anything that could cause distress to the great woman. But I do think that someone like Mary should be made aware of this prejudicial behaviour against people in other parts of the EU which is apparently decided by her publisher, and maybe she can give voice to her own opinion about it, if she supports this or not, and maybe even get it overturned. She is, after all, a matrician, if not a magician.

So come on, Mary, are you going to allow your book about Rome to flaunt the Treaty of Rome or are you going to make a stand for the European consumer of your intellectual wares?

I just want to buy a copy of SPQR audiobook for GBP 1.99 like every other member who pays the same as me, and not be the subject of prejudicial behaviour because of where in the EU I choose, under my Treaty of Rome rights to live. It is illegal, do you understand? If I actually had the money to give due progress on this you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, the courts would have to find in my favour. You at Audible are not getting this because you are still thinking like an American company. You even wrote to me your phoney apology (see image below) in foreign, non-European English even though I subscribe to not the .com version, so you clearly have a very small knowledge about the UK and EU market. Learning the language is always a good starting point. You need to stop applying US law when working in the EU with EU consumers and start applying our laws and paying our taxes. If you can’t do this, then one day we will find someone who can. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

The offending rights restriction, written in American English to add insult to injury, is on the right.
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