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Kindle MatchBook to offer cheap, free ebooks from past Amazon orders

updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue September 3, 2013

Over 10,000 ebooks available through program at launch in October

Amazon has announced a new program that will provide Kindle owners digital copies of books they already own. Kindle MatchBook will allow Amazon customers to get an ebook version of physical versions bought through the retailer in the past, with titles either being offered at no charge or for between $0.99 and $2.99 each.

Just as how Amazon offered MP3 versions of albums bought in the past when it launched AutoRip for music, Kindle MatchBook will work for books bought as early as 1995. While over 10,000 books will be added to MatchBook in October, including bestsellers such as Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, publishers will be able to add their titles to the list, and can set their price accordingly.

The bundling of printed and digital books is apparently one of the most requested features from customers to Amazon, with the offering of cheap and free ebooks to customers likely to help convert some of the more skeptical readers over to the Kindle devices.

Though Kindle MatchBook will launch in the US, there is no word if it will be heading to other markets, though considering it took six months for AutoRip to reach Europe, it will probably do the same.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    While I applaud this move and would like to see it elsewhere, I have to scratch my head when viewed from the standpoint of Apple's guilty verdict in its iBook case.

    How is it Amazon is able to do this with book publishers' approval, I would assume, when obviously these publishers are losing potential revenue by allowing it? Can it not be viewed as an Amazon "strong arm" tactic similar to Apple when they asked for an agency selling model and more pointedly, a benefit to Amazon at the expense of their competition?

    Even if Amazon absorbs the costs, is this not exploitation of a monopoly by bundling at a price point only Amazon can achieve, thus a barrier to competitive entry?

    Maybe the fine Judge Cote can explain the validity of this arrangement!

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Back in the day, if you wanted a second copy, you would buy another copy at the store, or you'd go to secondhand places and see if you could find one. The publishers didn't know, nor care that you already had a copy, to offer a second copy at next to nothing.

  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Quote: "...with titles either being offered at no charge or for between $0.99 and $2.99 each."

    Not so. I signed up my titles this morning. To include a book in MatchBook, the author/publisher must agree to discount the ebook by at least 50%. That means that a $20 ebook might go for about $10. The good news is that, whatever the discounted price, those who qualify for 70% royalty before the discount still qualify afterward. If Amazon hadn't done that, for many authors signed up for MatchBook would have reduced their royalties to one fourth rather than a half their former rate.

    Amazon has numerous issues that the DOJ might pursue, but this isn't one of them. The offer only makes sense because Amazon sells both print and digital versions of books. The iBookstore is digital only. Apple does need to come up with something as attractive, such as including iBookstore discount coupons with the sale of Macs, iPads and iPhones.

    It'll be interesting to see if Amazon contacts established customers with a list of discounted ebooks that they qualify for. If it does, there could be a brief bonanza for authors and publishers whose books have been on the market for years.

    Once this settles in, Amazon might consider another discount option. Offer discounted ebooks from multiple sources when someone buys a particularly printed copy. Get the printed version of The Lord of the Rings, for instance, and get various ebooks from other publishers about Tolkien and his writing at a discount. You might call that affinity discounting.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    The Ebook technology hasn't lived up to its promise- yet. So far, the dead tree version, and the e-version cost nearly the same, barring a deal like this.

    I don't see ANY reason for an ebook to not cost 25% of what the paper version costs, and no amount of publisher spin-based analysis can tell me otherwise.

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