Build Print and Digital Book Libraries with Kindle MatchBook

We recently reported that Amazon has announced a new program called Kindle Matchbook that allows book enthusiasts to buy electronic versions of books that they have already purchased in print. In many cases, the program will allow customers to pay less than what they typically would for a standalone Kindle book. Customers will pay $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 — or nothing — for an electronic book they have already purchased in print.

“One benefit of MatchBook is that Amazon will let its customers buy Kindle editions of books that they purchased in print as far back as 1995, the year Amazon opened for business. The discounted Kindle edition prices apply to book purchases made in the future on Amazon too,” explains The New York Times.

Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, explains that Amazon receives requests from Kindle users for a way to create a parallel print and digital book library. Kindle users still want print books for souvenirs and art objects, while print lovers could benefit from Kindle features such as text searching.

While there are some print lovers who also enjoy e-books, if there are not enough, the program could suffer.

“The success of the program will be determined partly by whether book publishers embrace it. So far, Amazon has agreements from only a couple of major publishers — HarperCollins was the only one Mr. Grandinetti was willing to name — to offer their titles through MatchBook,” reports NYT.

Amazon hopes to sign more publishers in the future. Grandinetti plans for 10,000 books to be available through the MatchBook service, which is expected to become available in October.

“Although publishers have shown discomfort with Amazon’s outsize clout in book retailing, Mr. Grandinetti said he doesn’t expect a lot of resistance, because MatchBook represents an ‘incremental revenue stream for publishers and authors,'” notes NYT.

It is not certain whether signing numerous publishers will help Amazon, for Kindle prices for old books tend to be low, and in such cases, Kindle would have to drop prices to almost nothing to attract buyers. However, the program might work better for newer books.

“The new program echoes a similar one the company announced earlier this year offering users digital versions of CDs they’d bought on Amazon,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “In that case, however, Amazon gave away the digital versions free.”

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