Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm.

How About An Amazon AutoRip For Books?

Money Ball

Amazon is showing off a new feature today called AutoRip, which gives you a free MP3 copy of some CDs you buy (or have bought since 1998).

This is nice enough, but what I really want is a books version of this.

It’s been a few years since I’ve bought a physical CD, and ripping music is already super-easy thanks to iTunes and iTunes Match. Books, however, are much harder to “rip”. (There is actual ripping involved.)

I still frequently buy physical books from Amazon, and often re-buy them in Kindle or iBooks format to read on my phone and iPad. This always feels like a backwards, bullshit requirement. (Although, Moneyball was totally worth it — and only $5.46 right now for Kindle.)

The trouble with an “AutoRip for Books” mostly seems to be that no one has a real incentive to offer it yet:

  • The book publishers (and Amazon) are probably happy with those semi-rare double-dip purchases, and seem to hate each other anyway.
  • Amazon doesn’t seem to have enough competition in the e-books market to really drive much progress.
  • Apple doesn’t have a 15-year history of my physical book purchases to work from.
  • Barnes & Noble, maybe? But I’ve bought most of my physical books from Amazon over the years, so that wouldn’t help much either.
  • Maybe I’m missing something big, but e-book piracy doesn’t seem to be as big of a thing as MP3s were, or movies/TV shows are now. Anyway, I’m too old for that.
  • Could the publishers band together and do it themselves? Maybe, but that might even be worse than UltraViolet.

(I’d once daydreamed about a big recycling machine that you put your physical books into, it scans and shreds them, and then e-mails you an e-book version of whatever you deposited. But that’s obviously not necessary. It would be much easier for Amazon just to link up your past purchases the way it’s doing for music.)

Also: It’s A Great Time For Magazines