iPad, iBooks and iTunes DRM

I suspect that a number of people with iPads in their French Christmas stockings will be disappointed to find that they can only buy iBooks from the French iTunes store, and that the 10,000-odd titles only include some 350 books in English.

It appears that one can only buy iBooks from the country in which your address is registered. Does anyone know whether this is enforced by country IP and is there a work-around, e.g. creating an iTunes account in the UK using a laptop and an accommodation address then using that to buy iBooks in France from the UK iTunes store?

There seems to be a similar bar for Kindle books from the UK but not the US (to be read using the Kindle app on the iPad).

I need to sort it before my better half goes online with an iPad on Christmas day!



Hi Brian,
If you want to see what is available from the iTunes Store in various countries, all you need to do is go to the lower right of the iTunes Store page and click the little round flag icon; then you can choose your country and see if any particular App is available. However you will only be able to purchase and download an App from the country in which your payment details are registered.

I have found that all the Apps that I have wanted to purchase are available to purchasers in the US, the UK and France, with the big exception of iBooks. With only a few hundred English language books available from tens of thousands of French books, it is most unlikely that you will find a particular book in its English version in the iTunes.fr store. So if you are resident in France and don’t have a US credit card and iTunes account and need to download an English-language book available in the US, then the Kindle or the Kindle App for the iPad is the way to go.


Ian G

Hi Ian,

Have you found that you’re unable to download any applications in France that you could normally download in the U.S.?

Thanks in advance,


Hi Carl,

Thank you for that; I too have found no problem with Kindle books downloaded in France to the Kindle App on the iPad from the US site amazon.com, but if they can do it, why not Apple? Better still would be to increase the number of English language books on the French iTunes store so that English residents in France could get legitimate downloads without resorting to the stratagems of virtual private networks and English accommodation addresses. I've had a go at Apple on the issue, but it would help if other people who are unable to buy the English iBooks that they want from the French iTunes site would complain to them; the address for iTunes support worldwide is iTunesStoreSupport@apple.com which will produce a response from a person and the suggestion page which produces no response.

Another useful site is The Book Depository which won't sell eBooks to France for the iPad but which offers over 10,000 free books - see here.

Having said all that I'm agreeably surprised by the intuitive GUI of the iPad and my technophobe other half is now dabbling in Gmail and Facebook like a pro. I bought the Crossword app the other day so my chances of getting my sticky mitts on the iPad are vanishingly small!

Ian G

We can get English books for our UK purchased Kindle from the amazon.com site.

That said, I have just dropped nearly 1000 books onto the kindle from another source and so don't expect to be buying any books for quite a while :)

Thanks Peter (and Hector & John),

I have a UK bank account; sadly it uses my French address - since the specified country of residence, the iTunes Store area and the credit card address all have to match it looks like I'm stymied.

And the iTunes Ts & Cs say "Les Stores ne sont disponibles qu’en France Vous vous engagez à ne pas utiliser ou tenter d’utiliser les Stores en dehors de ce pays. iTunes peut utiliser des technologies afin de vérifier que vous respectez votre engagement." so they could use the IP to check where you're registering from - unless you use an IP anonymiser.

The real answer is for all iBooks to be available from all iTunes area stores at fair prices - I suspect they're all on the same database somewhere anyway.

The pic below is the dialogue you get if you try and change your account country.

I get all my itunes from the UK, but have to use a UK bank account!