Why Must I Pay Twice For The Same Content?

Like many, I love to listen to audiobooks. Given that I read slowly, it allows me to get through books that interest me much quicker. In addition, it gives me greater flexibility as I can listen to the book while I drive.

For many books, such as novels, one listen to the book is sufficient. However as I mainly like to read business and marketing books, there are times where I would like to listen to the audiobook and yet have a copy of the ebook as a reference.

Yet today, assuming that I don’t want to rip a copy, it seems that my only option is to pay once for the audiobook and a second time for the ebook. This doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

It seems that the book publishing industry is still caught up in the old world model much like a large part of the newspaper and magazine industry. I want author’s and publisher’s to receive reasonable revenues but why should I have to pay twice for the same content?

And why can’t I buy an ebook once and use it on my iPad when it suits me and my Kindle when I want to read outdoors on a bright sunny day. Well, I guess the device manufacturers such as Apple and Amazon are responsible for this one together with the publishers.

I feel it is reasonable for book publishers to charge a premium if I want both the audiobook and the ebook but not double. And portability between devices should be a given.

And what about book rentals? There are many books that I would love to read but don’t want to buy all of them. In the physical world I can take them out at a library. Why can’t I do the same in the digital world?

This unfairness has miffed me for a long time. What do you think?

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5 Responses to “Why Must I Pay Twice For The Same Content?”

  1. tsactuo Says:

    They’re scared to death of the digital, really. They fear the portability, the potential loss of control over content (i.e. potential loss of potential revenue, even though that’s not an actual loss). They want their money up front… and as often as possible, if possible.

    You’re right they’re still operating on the old print/hard copy model.

    • Jonathan Schacter Says:

      Circling the wagon in a changing world is a strategy born out of fear and that can be a powerful motivator. But it is a short sighted strategy which will lose out in the long term in an ever increasingly fast changing world. It is only through a long term approach to strategy and understanding of changing customers needs from which the publishing titans of the future will emerge.

  2. Rick Boretsky Says:


    Yes, the publishing world is still old school. Amazon, iPad, and such is forcing change though. One thing to note, is that there is a text–>audio option on the Kindle. So on some of their e-books (not many yet), you can actually listen to this on the Kindle, but it is not a pretty narrated version, just a computerized audio. You can also get a Kindle reader on your iPad, iPhone, or blackberry.

    I also agree the book rentals (or loaning books from others) would be a nice option. You can rent movies on iTunes, which is a great option!! (I just wish they would do the same for TV shows).

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