Download in a Box? Apple to Sell Album-Specific iTunes Giftcards in Stores

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Not content to just dominate music sales online, Apple will soon be taking up space in your local retail chain. According to Billboard, this fall, the company will begin selling album-specific iTunes gift cards inside DVD-sized boxes with album art on the cover in stores like Best Buy, Starbucks and Safeway. Albums by Norah Jones and Maroon 5 may be among the first offered, at prices said to range from $11.99 to $14.99 -- which may include bonus tracks or videos since the price is a bit higher than iTunes' ususal $9.99 per album fee. The cards could help boost sales over the holidays and introduce heartland shoppers to downloading, but may accelerate the decline of physical CD sales and hurt brick-and-mortar sales in the long run. But for the first time in a while, consumers will be able to grab something physical -- an album cover, at least -- along with their download.