If you spend much time traveling and enjoy reading, carrying a Kindle is more or less as important as carrying a passport (though slightly easier and more valuable to steal for enterprising pickpockets…).
Amazon just announced a program that makes it even more useful: free (or free-ish) e-books with many physical books you buy – and, crucially, have ever bought – on the site.
Kindle MatchBook, which was announced today in a press release and goes live in October, will allow Amazon users to purchase the Kindle version of thousands of titles they previously bought on the site – sometimes for free, other times at $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, or $3.99, depending on the publisher.
According to Amazon’s new site, http://amazon.com/kindlematchbook, the offer will apply to “past, present, and future print-edition purchases,” as long as the publisher signs up.
This is fantastic news, and seems to be a win-win-win-win for Amazon, consumers, authors, and publishers:
- Amazon will, of course, get a percentage of each sale, seeing an immediate boost in sales when the program goes live in October. But long-term, this program will incent book-buyers everywhere to choose Amazon over Barnes & Noble or Wal-Mart; even once they make similar deals with publishers (and they will), the ease of buying a physical book on Amazon and immediately having an e-book will make Amazon the simple choice for readers everywhere (which will only drive sales of other products, too)
- Consumers will be able to digitize much of their libraries for a fraction of the initial cost of the purchase. And, as competition pushes the e-book price down to zero, they’ll be able to have digitized copies of print editions for free. Personally, I still prefer reading some books (fiction) on paper, but love the ability to highlight text, add notes, and instantly look up words on digital copies for non-fiction books. I house facts, figures, and anecdotes on Evernote, and copy-pasting from kindle.amazon.com is way more convenient than physically highlighting and typing. I’m also thrilled that I’ll be able to borrow books to friends and family that I previously would have bought on the Kindle only
- Publishers and Authors will immediately benefit, though I think long-term they’ll see a smaller effect than Amazon and consumers (though still net positive)
Yes, this should’ve happened years ago, and yes, it really would be wonderful if all physical-edition books purchases were free electronically to begin with. But there’s revenue to be sopped up for Amazon, publishers, and authors, so it’s hardly a surprise that, for many books, the initial price will be a few dollars.
Still: this is great news! And it just convinced me to buy another Kindle, after my last one was stolen.