Amazon is adding an oft requested feature to their Kindle book service that may spark a new wave of eBook adopters.
Amazon announced that in October, they’ll be rolling out Kindle MatchBook, a feature that gives owners of physical books which they’ve purchased from Amazon the option to buy the eBook edition at either a deeply discounted rate or get it for free.
MatchBook is described as:
“A new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon. Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook. Over 10,000 books will already be available when Kindle MatchBook launches in October, including best sellers like I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, with many more titles to be added over time.”
Here are the touted features of MatchBook, straight from the official press release:
- Kindle editions at a great price: Amazon customers who purchase or have purchased qualifying print books can get the Kindle edition for prices that are typically $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.
- For book purchases dating back to 1995: Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook.
- Easy discovery: Readers can easily look up their entire print book order history to discover which of their past purchases are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook.
- Popular Kindle-only features: As with regular purchases, Kindle MatchBook titles have unique features such as Whispersync, Popular Highlights, and X-Ray.
- Read anywhere capabilities: In addition to Amazon’s best-selling Kindle devices, customers can download a free Kindle reading app for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, PC or Mac and start building their Kindle library today.
They’re also offering authors and publishers using the ability to sign up to make their books available through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Their royalty percentages will remain the same, and they will have full control over the promotional pricing, as well.
It’s not a stretch to say that this is a huge move toward making those who have been cautious about adopting eBook technology more likely to do so. Honestly, it’s a feature that many people have been asking for since eBooks became mainstream. Personally, I don’t have a large history of purchasing non-digital books via Amazon, but I’m certain there are tons of consumers who have.
I’m curious if MatchBook could eventually evolve to be automatically included with select purchases, much like Amazon’s AutoRip feature that was rolled out in January. With all these new value-added features, it really seems like Amazon is trying to narrow the digital divide in their own way, a little bit at a time. It leads one to wonder…what other fantastic new toys are they going to release next?
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