Despite constantly clicking “I agree” with the Terms of Service, consumers do not get Digital Rights Management. From the consumer perspective, the digital age was supposed to give them their content whenever and where ever they want it. Things like sports blackouts or preventing sharing digital files don’t make sense to them, regardless of how the content provider might explain it. One company, however, seems to be blurring the lines between physical and digital content for consumers: Amazon.com. Earlier this year, Amazon introduced AutoRip. This service provided a digital copy for every physical CD you purchase through Amazon FOR FREE. Now, they’re doing the same thing for books.
This week, Amazon released Kindle Matchbook that will provide a free (or pretty deeply discounted) e-book edition of all the physical books you have purchased from them. The service will provide it for titles you bought all the way back to 1995.
I think the lesson Amazon has learned is that consumers view digital versions as cheaper/easier/more disposable. The idea that they’re valued at the same level as the physical artifact is often viewed as unfair by consumers. Record companies are starting to learn this, especially by giving away digital versions when consumers purchase vinyl. It will be interesting to see how Amazon is able to push content developers into being more consumer friendly.