How many digital book readers haven’t dreamt about this at some point? Buying a physical copy of a book and getting a free digital download of the same book allowing you to get the best of both worlds. I can’t count the number of times I have wished for this be the norm.
Every time this comes up in conversation, people seem to be of the opinion that getting a digital copy with your purchase of a physical book is going to become the norm, later if not sooner. Any number of factors point to this being true, predominantly the fact that this is already happening in the musical world. Granted, it has been a while since I purchased a CD, but I am told that more often than not when you purchase a CD today, you get a digital download key included.
I also recall that Barnes and Nobel did try this out when digital books were first on the rise a few years ago, but the fact that they only tried once, and never again is fairly telling in how their efforts were received.
Another consideration is that this would be a great boost to the physical book stores around today that bemoan the internet for killing off their business. Allowing them to sell digital copies along with the books in their stores would cause digital books to become less of a threat to the local stores and indeed a boon to them at no additional cost to the publisher.
But what most people don’t take into consideration is the huge element in the digital book world that is Amazon. Amazon will fight tremendously against this becoming the norm as they have invested so much time and so much more money in becoming the number one retailer of e-books around the world, they have no vested interest in giving their share of this market away.
Amazon sells their e-readers, the Kindle, and Kindle Fire, at manufacturing cost in order to get them into the hands of the consumers. Once they do though, the consumers are forced to use Amazon’s kindle store to purchase their digital books. The consumers simply have no other option.
No one stands to lose more than Amazon if consumers always received a copy of the digital book whenever they purchased a physical copy, and at the same time, they are one of the few companies in the world that are actually in a position to be able to stop this practice from ever occurring. No major or minor publisher in the world wants to risk getting on the bad side of Amazon. They are too big a distributer to every single major market on earth to try and annoy.