Nicholas Carr suggests that publishers include ebook downloads with regular books, in the way record labels do with vinyl and MP3, or the way you get music by default if you buy a CD.
I think record labels only do it because they sort of have to — a CD can be ripped and shared quickly, and while they tried to sell us formats that were locked down, nobody ever bought SACD or DVD-A in real volumes. They’re still stuck with CD, which means format shifting is a dead letter for the RIAA.
Book publishers may think this means they can keep trying to bill us twice for physical and electronic copies, since there’s no reasonable way to “rip” a novel onto your Kindle. But it’s still the right thing to do, for lots of reasons. The biggest one is that it’ll shore up their existing distribution channels (brick & mortar stores) at the expense of Amazon, and it’s in nobody’s best interest for any one company to control American publishing.
Sure would be nice. I pay a premium for a vinyl + CD-or-download-code package vs. what it would cost in the iTunes store, or what a CD alone would cost, because I prefer the form factor and tactile experience of vinyl. I’d pay a mild premium for books with Kindle editions included, too.