Amazon launched its AutoRip music service in the UK and other regions in Europe today, an added benefit to customers who buy CDs and vinyl records from the online retailer. They get free MP3 versions of all tracks to play in or download from Amazon's Cloud Player. And it even works retrospectively, taking in music on physical media purchased at any time since the retailer opened its doors (in 1999) also applies.
It's a revolutionary idea, and has already seen a rise in sales of CDs since its US launch in January. And with vinyl records around 60-90 days later, after that option was added.
So what if the same concept was applied to books? Amazon has the world's biggest eBook store and, in the Kindle, the most popular device to read them on. How about offering a free eBook for every physical book sold? Or digital video download with every DVD or Blu-ray disc, such as a more universal version of UltraViolet?
Pocket-lint put these questions to Steve Boom, Amazon's vice-president for digital music, who agreed that these were areas worth investigating, and have been the subject of requests by US users of the service in the past few months.
"There’s always a possibility for everything. If you do an AutoRip search on Twitter, for example, you’ll see a lot of people saying how great it is and that it should be done for books and video," he told us in a one-to-one interview.
But there are many things to consider before either books or video downloads could be AutoRip-enabled. While Amazon has deals in place with all of the major record labels and many independents, it would have to sign similar agreements with rights holders in other industries. They don't necessarily operate in the same way as their equivalents in the music business.
"Use of those market segments is different and operate differently from an economic perspective. With rights ownership and the evolution of rights ownership too," said Boom. "Anything is possible – it would certainly be a great customer benefit if this were a characteristic of all media types – but right now it is just music.
"Hopefully in the future it might become possible."
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