Monday Musings: AutoRip for ebooks? Yeah, right.

About that Amazon AutoRip Thing

So the ebook-o-sphere’s been abuzz about Amazon’s new AutoRip service for CDs. The deal is that, for select purchased CDs, Amazon will automatically “rip” those CDs to MP3 format, and the purchaser can retrieve and/or play those files straight from Amazon’s Cloud Player.

What makes it all so darn tantalizing is that the program is retroactive circa 1998, ie. it applies to any AutoRip-eligible CD purchased from Amazon over the last 14 years. Imagine my delight when the three eligible CDs I purchased from Amazon back in 2005 and 2006 were suddenly available for download in my cloud player. (The kicker? I bought one of them as a gift. Hello, soundtrack from Weeds!).

The clamoring for Amazon to extend this long-sought service to ebooks is more than understandable. Who among us doesn’t pick up their e-reader of choice and then look longingly at their bookshelf?

We’ve long wondered if bundling has a place in the future of print book/ebook sales. But it strikes this observer as unlikely that “AutoRip” will extend (in the near future, anyway) to books.

With MP3s, Amazon is simply saving customers the step of ripping the CD to their computer—oh, and making a lot of people aware of its Cloud music service, which is tussling with the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Google Music, iTunes Match, MOG, Pandora, Slacker, Rhapsody and a handful of others in the wide-open streaming/cloud music space. (Not for nothing, I’m a loyal Rdio user, but I’m using Amazon’s Cloud Player for the first time as I write this.)

With books, customers can’t “rip” their own ebook, and Amazon certainly doesn’t have the same visibility issues with the Kindle platform. To say nothing of the legal and licensing quagmire it’d cause with publishers who are probably quite happy with the idea of people “upgrading” their ebooks the way they upgraded their old vinyl records to CDs. And then there’s the gift loophole mentioned above.

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  • Blue Harvest Creative

    I don’t see this happening anytime soon but one way publishers could sweeten the pot is to do what is big in Video currently and that is buy the book and get a code to download the eBook version for free, thereby getting a 2 fer deal. Like when you buy a lot of Blu-Rays now you can get the Blu-Ray, DVD plus a digital copy.

    This kind of concept could also help bookstores immensely. This way people could have the best of both worlds.

  • Doug Turner

    Look at how comiXology has changed the comic book publishing space and you’ll see where books are going.