Amazon rolling out MatchBook: Get Kindle versions of print books you own for cheap or free

I had often wondered why publishers don’t give away eBook versions of books when you purchase the physical book.  I mean, you just shelled out something like $24.95 for a print book… can’t they give you the electronic version for free as a convince!!??  Doesn’t really cost anything more does it!!??  Okay, I could kind of see that it would be hard to control.  And sure, the purchaser may just give the coupon or voucher to someone else, preventing another sales perhaps.  But still.  It would be nice!!  Many DVD movies do this.  They give you the digital rights to view on your PC when you purchase the physical DVD/Blue-Ray.

Well… I need not wonder anymore.  It’s not really the publishers doing it, it is Amazon.com doing it with their innovative new program called Kindle MatchBook.  This allows authors and/or publishers to allow their Kindle versions to be discounted if you already own the print version.  This could be discounted from $2.99 to 99 cents, or even free.  It’s up to the author/publisher if they want to participate and how much to charge (if anything) for the Kindle version.

Another cool thing with this program is that it is retroactive.  So if you purchased a paperback of a book in 1995 (via your current Amazon.com account) you could be able to get the Kindle version for $2.99 or less.  If the author/publisher takes advantage of the program that is.

Don’t get too dismayed if you start looking at all your books and don’t see this offered… Not many titles are participating yet.  This program could take a few months (or a few years) to really get rolling, but I think it is a long time coming!  I’m sure this will push Barns and Noble, and all the others to follow suit as well.   I’m glad someone started it!

Amazon started doing this with audio books via Audible.com (which they own.) If you owned the Kindle version you could get the Audio version for a deep discount.  This helped spur audio book sales to new levels the past year.  For those readers with huge print book libraries but are now Kindle devotees, they will surely be thrilled to convert many of their favorites to the Kindle version for free, or even willing to shell out a buck or two for the convenience.

As an independent author I was given the choice to enroll my book in the program and I’ve jumped at the chance.  I will probably play around with the options.  For right now I am allowing anyone that purchased a print copy of The Curse of Europa to get the Kindle version for 99 cents.  I will probably make it free though in the end.  I just wanted to see how this all works first.

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5 thoughts on “Amazon rolling out MatchBook: Get Kindle versions of print books you own for cheap or free

  1. Some publishers have trialled offering bundling, but the production cost of an eBook can be as expensive as if not more expensive than a hard copy in the short term as you have to typeset the text several times for a range of file formats to work across all the ereaders and have to pay a licensing fee for all those formats, not to mention that some authors demand a far higher royalty on e versions because of the piracy risk. They aren’t always the cheap option that they seem for publishers!

    • Thanks for the info Siobhan. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I understand what you are saying in terms of production cost (not printing cost) which is why it’s probably taken this long for something like this to come down the pipe. But once the production is all done there really isn’t much cost going forward beyond delivery, which in this case is on Amazon. The Author/Producer has the option to sell at a reduced rate or give away free. If they want to still charge 99 cents, for example, they they are actually getting a little more revenue from a previous sale. I may gladly pay 99 cents to get my favorite book on Kindle. So hopefully a Win-Win.

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