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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Audio Books – Patience can be a virtue

A lot of people appreciated my post last week (Trick to get huge audio book discounts) so I thought I would just do a quick follow-up.

I was looking for a new audio book to sink by teeth (or ears) into and stumbled upon Damocles.  Well, Audible helped me stumble upon it with an email announcing some new titles.   While there were no reviews on the audio book having just been released that same day (5-28-13), there were 25 reviews on Amazon.com which looked promising; plus the premise sounded promising also.  However, there was no discount for the Kindle+Audible bundle.

Luckily I am experienced in the process of publishing so I knew it can take a few days for everything to “jive” together.  Since the book was just released on the day I was checking it out, the Audible audio version showed up separate from the Kindle version on Amazon.com.   I’m currently in the middle of the Wool audio book so I wasn’t in a big hurry.  If I acted on impulse I would have had to pay $13.99 for just the Audible audio version.

So today I happened to check on it, and sure enough, the Audible version and the Kindle version are now linked.  I figured it would still be a few days before the Whispersync for Voice option became available, but to my surprise it already is.  And, the discounted bundle price is in place too.  So now I can get the Kindle+Audible bundle for this book for $8.48.

Sure, I only saved $5.51, however… I really like having the Kindle version also; if for nothing else than for reference.  Any of you readers out there know that sometimes you come across something that strikes a cord with you.  It’s hard to “highlight” an audio book.  Plus, the whole concept behind Whispersync for Voice is that you can alternate between the Audio book and the Kindle book.  I’ve done this too and I like it!!  Good God, I sound like a commercial for Amazon/Audible, sorry 🙂    But it really is a good deal.

WhispersyncForVoice

So I guess the moral of my story is that if you want to take advantage of this deal on a brand spanking new Audible audio book, you may need to wait a few days for all the pieces to come together.  There’s no guarantee that there will be a discounted combo package of course – but in many cases it will happen and you can save a few bucks.

Remember Those Choose Your Own Adventure Books?

The Cave of Time

The Cave of Time

 

I don’t recall when I got the book “The Cave of Time” by Edward Packard, or how old I was,  but this books sticks in my mind as one of my favorites as a kid.  If you don’t know what a CYOA book is, it is a story that has multiple paths that you, as the reader and as the main character, get to choose as the story progresses.   For The Cave of Time, the cover claimed that you could choose from 40 possible endings.  I remember trying practically all of the scenarios to live out (or die in) all of the endings.  I remember getting tossed off a woolly mammoth, getting killed by a huge bug creature, and getting eaten by the Loch Ness monster, a saber tooth tiger, and a tyrannosaurus rex.   Of course there were happy endings also, but I can’t seem to remember those – must not have been as exciting.

The Cave of Time was the first of a series of 185 books published by Bantam Books from 1979 to 1998.  It was written by Edward Packard who wrote over 50 of them for Bantam.  R. A. Montgomery was the other main author (and actually founder of the series) writing about 40 of them for that publisher.   They both also wrote a series for younger readers.  R. A. Montgomery actually went on to write many other CYOA series for various other publishers.  His most memorable one is most likely “The Abominable Snowman.”  I remember having one of his called “Space and Beyond” also.

Initially the series had only mediocre sales until they decided to distribute 100,000 free books to libraries across the country.  Almost overnight, the books became a hugely popular series. In the ensuing 20 years, the CYOA series sold over 250 million copies worldwide and was translated into 38 languages.  In 2002, the last of the rights in the series reverted to founder R.A. Montgomery, who founded Chooseco a few years later, a small publisher focused exclusively on republishing the bestselling series.

A few years ago I was happy to be able to get a used copy of “The Cave of Time” off of Amazon.com that I read with my daughter.  Now my 10 year old boy is getting into them.  The cool thing is that some of them are being converted into eBooks.  You can go to Amazon.com and get The Abominable Snowman,  The Haunted House, Journey Under the Sea,  Space and Beyond, and many others for Kindle for example.   These have been updated with an interactive map that lets you know where you are in the book, links take you directly to the path you choose without flipping pages, and they give you an option to easily go back and try a different path.

Just a few years ago, Edward Packard helped create U-Ventures, an app for the iPhone or iPad.  This is an interactive book application that is free with samples of three books.  If you want to read one of the entire stories, each will cost $3.99.  These updated stories incorporate sounds, lights, and special effects into the traditional CYOA format.  The initial stories available are “Return to the Cave of Time,” plus “Through the Black Hole,” and “The Forbidden Castle.”  My 10 year old boy and I are currently reading “Through the Black Hole.”  While it works on the iPad, it is actually formatted for the iPhone.

I loved these stories so much I’m debating creating my own book with this concept, formatted especially for the eBook format.  However, I’ve got many other projects to work on first, but I will be keeping this in the back of my mind!

Do you remember reading these books?

Which ones are your favorites?

Trick to get huge audio book discounts

I’ve just recently found that I love audio books.  I figured they were for the hearing impaired or for workers with long commutes.  My commute is only about 15 minutes to work.  However, when working to produce the audio book for The Curse of Europa, I figured I should listen to an audio book or two.  Now I’m hooked!!  Even though my commute is only 15 minutes, that is still a good 30 minutes a day.  If I go to lunch I may listen again in my car, or take headphones and listen while I eat.  It’s great because it’s hard to find time to read and it is easy now to plug reading into time that is otherwise “wasted”, such as driving a car.

On our trip to Florida (driving from Michigan), it was great.  It kept me awake better than the radio.  Even laying in the sun.  Sure, you can easily read, but it sure is more relaxing to just lay back and listen (especially if the audio book production is top notch.)  Many narrators will do certain voices for the various characters.  Depending on the narrator, sometimes this can be great, sometimes a bit weird.  If you’ve got a good narrator if adds a whole new level to the enjoyment of the book.

So what is this “trick?”  

It’s not really a trick I guess.  There’s nothing devious or deceitful about it. It’s taking advantage of special pricing if you do things in the correct order.  I believe it is Amazon’s way to promote their Whispersync technology.  The basic trick is that if you purchase the Kindle version of a book first, you may get a huge discount on the audio book.  You can basically purchase both the Kindle version and the Audio version for much less than just the Audio version alone.  And you don’t even have to be an Audible.com Gold member.  Many times the audio version is discounted down to $4.99, $2.99, $1.99, sometimes even 99 cents for example.

Amazon owns Audible.com.  To purchase a book from Audible.com, you can simply login with your Amazon.com credentials.  You don’t have to sign-up for their membership to purchase audio books.  Members get special pricing and usually get a book a month for free (but you’re paying a monthly membership).  So again, you don’t need to do the monthly membership to take advantage of this “trick.”  In many cases, purchasing the Kindle version and then the Audible version is still cheaper than the member pricing (use less they use their monthly credit to get it for free, of course.)

Here are some examples from popular books.  These are based on pricing as of 5/24/2013

The Hunger Games.  If you want to purchase the audio book alone it will cost you $24.95.  If you are an Audible.com member, you can get it for the discounted price of $19.58.  However, anyone, can purchase the Kindle version for $5.00 and then the Audible version is discounted to $3.95.  So… you can get both versions for $8.95.  You just saved $16. All legit, all direct through Amazon.com and Audible.com.  You can then download the Audible book onto a Kindle or any iPhone or Android phone via the Audible app.

Mocking Jay / Catching Fire.  Well, to wrap up The Hunger Games series, you can get both versions for Mocking Jay for $9.48 (save $8.47) and both versions of Catching Fire for $9.94 (save $15.01.)  These are well narrated books by the way!  I’ve listened to them both.

A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book III.  Purchase the Audio version for $39.95, or purchase the Kindle version for $9.99 and then get the discounted Audio version for $12.99.  So this one is a bit more expensive, but at $22.98 you are still saving $16.97!

Wool Omnibus Edition.  You can get the Kindle version for $5.99 and then the Audio version for only $1.99.  So this is $7.98 vs. the regular price of $27.95 for only the Audio version alone.  Save almost $20.   The narration for this book is a little subpar, but okay.

14 by Peter Clines.  I LOVED this book.  The narrator did an awesome job!!  Purchase the Kindle version for $7.99 and get the audio version for only $1.99!  Again, the narration on this was superb, I highly recommend.  So you get both for $9.98 vs. $21.95, save $11.97!

The Host: A Novel. Purchase both versions for $8.69 vs. $23.95, save $15.26.

Gone Girl. Purchase both versions for $17.98 vs. $28.95, save 10.97.

Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Book 1.  Purchase both versions for $11.98 vs. $35.95, save $23.97.

The Martian.  This is a GREAT book also.  Unfortunately the Kindle version is no longer available because this independent author got a full book deal and sold the rights.  The audio version is still available.  The audio book is GREAT also; the narrator did a superb job and has almost as many voices as Rich Little.   If you were not lucky enough to purchase the Kindle version for 99 cents when it was available, I still highly recommend the audio version for $13.96.  However, if you did happen to have purchased the Kindle version, you can get the audio version for just $2.99!!

The Curse of Europa. I guess I would be remised if I left out my own book.  You can currently purchase the Kindle version for $2.99.  If you do so, you can get the Audible.com audio version for just $1.99.  So get both for $4.98 vs. $17.95, save $12.97.

The Classics

Okay, one last item.  You can get many classic book for free on Kindle, and then get the audio version for 99 cents in many cases.  Sometimes less!  Crazy!

A few examples:

A Tale of Two Cities.    Kindle version free, Audio version $0.99.  It is $4.89 if you don’t “buy” the free version first.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Get both versions for $.049

The Mysterious Island. Both for $0.99

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.  Both for $2.99

The Invisible Man.  Both for $0.99   I just listened to this.  It was  a good narration!

The Time Machine. Both for $0.49.

See all the “Free Popular Classics” here:   http://www.amazon.com/s/?node=2245146011

Conclusion

So, I think you get the point.  I’m not sure how long Amazon will be doing this special pricing promotion, but while they do, you can get some pretty fantastic deals.  Most of the time you can simply go to the Kindle version for a book and look for their “Whispersnyc for Voice” box.  In the box look for the bolded words: “for a reduced price of $$ after you buy this Kindle book.”

Some discounts are better than others.  Some are no discounts at all.  I believe it has to be a book with Whispersync enabled.  Explore and have fun!

FOLLOW UP POST: Audio Books – Patience can be a virtue

New Audio Book version of The Curse of Europa

The-Curse-of-Europa-Audio

New Audio Book version of The Curse of Europa

http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B00CH3TYDW

My book “The Curse of Europa” is now available as an audio book.  It can be purchased on Amazon.com via the link provided.  It can also be purchased for an iPad/iPod/iPhone via iTunes.  Just search for “The Curse of Europa” within iTunes.