Now That Amazon Is Offering Auto-Rip Of CDs You Bought, Will It Do The Same For Books?

from the why-not? dept

Times change. Amazon is making some news by launching an auto-rip service that puts MP3 copies of songs into your Amazon cloud storage when you buy CDs. Some have been comparing this to the old MP3.com “Beam It!” service that got MP3.com sued out of existence a while back, but this is quite different on one key dimension: Amazon has licensing deals with the major labels which specifically allow this (which also means it doesn’t work on all CDs).

Still, this move does raise some interesting question. For example: why not do this for books too? Why not have it so that when you buy a physical book, a digital copy automatically shows up on your Kindle? Of course, the real answer isn’t difficult to glean: because the publishers have no interest at all in doing this (yet). I expect they’ll do it eventually, but the publishers are still going through the same denial phase that many in the recording business went through earlier, and so it’s probably still going to be at least a year before some publisher comes around to such a deal (and then it will be announced as “big news” when it happens).

Another interesting question is whether or not the “AutoRip” service leads to more resells of CDs soon after people buy them. As Sherwin Siy notes, it may not actually be different than buying a CD and ripping it yourself, but the automated nature of it may make it easier to simply pass on the CD. Of course, does that mean you’re legally supposed to delete the MP3s too? I’m sure the industry would argue that’s the case, but it might not be that clear cut.

In the end, this really is the kind of thing that the recording industry should have embraced a decade ago, so welcome to the party (a bit late).

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Companies: amazon

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Comments on “Now That Amazon Is Offering Auto-Rip Of CDs You Bought, Will It Do The Same For Books?”

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34 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It takes work to create an e-book

Unlike the conversion from analog to digital for audio, an e-book is more than just a straight scan of text – its often reformatted, reorganized, and hopefully actual text (instead of an image of text).

When you buy an e-book, part of what you’re buying is the service to conform the information in the book into a different form factor.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: It takes work to create an e-book

More and more often, people are doing that in their own time and for free. As I write, there are a couple torrents on the Piratebay of the newly released fantasy book “A Memory of Light”, the final book in the “Wheel of Time” series. There’s already talk in the comments of people using open-source programs to correct formatting and other errors of the scan. So I, as a consumer, will coldly look here and see that I can get the same service as the professionals, but for the cost of $0.

Zos (profile) says:

Re: Re: It takes work to create an e-book

it’s funny you should mention “a memory of light”. Like most Jordan fans i’d been looking forward to the final book for ages. i was all set to order a physical copy so i’d have the full set on my shelf….but i don’t read dead tree anymore, i read on my kindle.

So i was a little irked to say the least when i found out that the digital edition was pushed back to april.

OFC 12 hours later we had an epub scan available all over the place, so i said screw it and cancelled my dead tree, i’ll buy that shit at a second hand store somewhere down the road.

Chris Brand says:

Deleting the MP3s

That is interesting, not least because (a) it’s not the purchaser doing the ripping, and (b) there is apparently some sort of license between Amazon and the record companies.

In Canada, C-11 made it so that your “private copies” were only legal if you continued to own the originals, but these don’t sound like “private copies”, they sound like freebies given to you by Amazon, in accordance with their license with the record companies.

I guess it would come down to what conditions they impose on you when they give you (access to) the MP3s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sure, it something you’re buying in those cases too, with the addition of the physical object.

But I don’t see any conflict between what you said and what I put forth – there is creative labor that needs to be expended to create an e-book, which is not the case for converting the CD’s audio file into an MP3. The latter is a process which is completely without creativity, and can be completely automated (moreover, even automation probably isn’t necessary, as Amazon likely has a digital copy already).

Anonymous Coward says:

This is true, but you’ll note that just because its being done for ‘free’ doesn’t mean effort and labor aren’t expended. While Amazon can provide an MP3 from a disk for extremely ‘cheap’ (at most, they have to automatically rip the MP3 from the disk, in reality they probably already have it because they sell MP3s), they do not have a similar means in place for converting the paper book they sell into an e-book.

While there are e-books on Amazon for a good number of the books, unlike the MP3 conversion process this is something that was created a) by a person, and more importantly b) by an entity _other than Amazon_ meaning they cannot simply give it away. Or at the very least, they would be ‘buying’ that e-book then ‘giving’ the e-book to the user who bought the book.

That there are additional contracts with (arguably illegal, I believe?) price floors Amazon must abide by for these e-books (meaning they cannot sell it for $0, and give the e-book rightsholder $n percent of $0 for the ‘sale’) reinforces this idea.

I do think it would be an interesting legal case if I, owner of $book, went to the Pirate Bay and found a free (libre) e-book version of $book, and was then tried for infringement, etc. In a sane world, I obviously would have some sort of license to the work (because it would / should not be illegal for me to take $book and type it up myself), and if I only downloaded it, I’m not contributing to other ‘infringement’) but readers of this site are fully aware that copyright law is, if not often, at least occasionally insane.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

they do not have a similar means in place for converting the paper book they sell into an e-book

Perhaps you missed it, but Amazon sells eBooks. The sell this device they call a Kindle. It displays electronic copies of books so you can carry around lots of books on a single light weight device. They also have apps for Apple and Android devices (I’m not going to explain what those are).

If you buy a physical copy of a paperback from Amazon, giving you the same eBook has a marginal cost so low that zero is the best way to describe it.

As far as someone else owning the rights to the eBook – that would be the publisher – you know, they same company that is letting Amazon sell THE BOOK. The article noted that the problem is probably not Amazon, it is the idiot publishers that didn’t look at the music industry and haven’t figured out the economics of marginal costs and the benefits of providing customers what they want. The same guy that tells Amazon to sell the paperback can tell them to give away the eBook with it.

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