Amazon Offers Readers Kindle Editions of Purchased Print Books for $2.99 or Less

UPDATE: Amazon has confirmed to Digital Book World that HarperCollins is participating in the MatchBook program, along with Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s self-publishing arm.

From a press email: “You can see HarperCollins is participating, and Amazon Publishing and KDP are also participating. We expect to add many more over time.”

[Press Release]

Introducing “Kindle MatchBook”: Soon Customers Will Be Able to Purchase Kindle Editions of Print Books Purchased from Amazon—Past, Present and Future—for $2.99 or Less

Over 10,000 books already enrolled from authors such as Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among many others

Today’s announcement is also a call to all authors and publishers to enroll their books in Kindle MatchBook—offering customers great value while adding a new revenue stream

Kindle MatchBook is the latest in a series of customer benefits exclusive to the Amazon ecosystem of digital content

Amazon today introduced Kindle MatchBook, 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. Customers can learn more by visiting www.amazon.com/kindlematchbook.

“If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase—18 years later—to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish.”

Bundling print and digital has been one of the most requested features from customers. With Kindle MatchBook, they can keep their favorite book on their shelf, and have a copy in their digital library for reading, perhaps re-reading it with features like X-Ray and Popular Highlights.

“I love this idea. It’s simple, brilliant, and good for everybody,” said best-selling author Marcus Sakey. “I love to have print books on my shelf, but I love reading my Kindle on the go, and there are plenty of titles I’d like both ways. It’s ridiculous to ask readers to pay full retail twice for the same book.”

Kindle MatchBook features include:

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.

Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook. Authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) can enroll their books in the program today by visiting http://kdp.amazon.com.

About Amazon.com

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle Paperwhite is the most-advanced e-reader ever constructed with 62% more pixels and 25% increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions, extra-long battery life, and a thin and light design. The new latest generation Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, now features new, improved fonts and faster page turns. Kindle Fire HD features a stunning custom high-definition display, exclusive Dolby audio with dual stereo speakers, high-end, laptop-grade Wi-Fi with dual-band support, dual-antennas and MIMO for faster streaming and downloads, enough storage for HD content, and the latest generation processor and graphics engine — and it is available in two display sizes — 7” and 8.9”. The large-screen Kindle Fire HD is also available with 4G wireless. The all-new Kindle Fire features a 20% faster processor, 40% faster performance, twice the memory, and longer battery life.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, www.amazon.cn, www.amazon.it, www.amazon.es, www.amazon.com.br, www.amazon.in, and www.amazon.com.mx. As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

4 thoughts on “Amazon Offers Readers Kindle Editions of Purchased Print Books for $2.99 or Less

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Seeing Amazon’s press release, I now understand why the tech press has been getting this story all wrong, claiming it means these ebooks will be priced from $2.95 down. Many may be that cheap, but Amazon’s actual rules say that, to qualify for this promotion, the author and publisher must only agree to ofter the ebook at half or less than its current retail price. At $20 ebook may be $10.

    You can find the actual details in all their messy complexity in this FAQ:

    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=AVJCUBZXDNUM4

    As a writer I can only say that dealing with Amazon is a pain. The DOJ attacked Apple and six major publishers for ‘price-fixing,\ but it’s quite clear that it’s Amazon that’s obsessed with using its marketing muscle and royalties to dictate what prices for ebooks ‘should’ be. They want them to sell between $2.95 and $9.95 and punish those who stray beyond those limits at either end. The result is bad for the public. It means fewer $1.99 books and it means that books that must be priced over $9.99 to recoup their costs have to be priced well over $9.99 (typically $25 and up) to make up for having a 70% royalty rate reduced 35%. (A move that is very lucrative for Amazon.) Students buying textbooks are hit particularly hard.

    The MatchBook’s complicated FAQ is one consequence of that policy. Without its exceptions, someone whose ebook is selling for $3.99 would find that not only must they discount it to $1.99 or under, but that they then get only 35% royalty rather than 70%. (Not true, the royalty rate remains based on the original price.) Since that’d cut their income from each sale to one-fourth of retail rather than half, Matchbook would either be unappealing or have a perverse incentive to raise the retail price. One set of complicated rules leads to still more rules and so on endlessly.

    What makes dealing with Amazon so tiresome is their ‘control freakery.’ Large retailers operating on small profit margins do need to be control freaks, carefully controlling their costs. But Amazon is obsessed with controlling the prices and discounts that others offer, even though that pricing makes little difference to it. Offering and selling a $19.99 ebook is as easy and cheap for Amazon as selling it for $1.99. The small profit margin is easily balanced by greater sales. It needs to quit regarding either those low or high prices as if they were crimes against humanity.

    Amazon needs to quit attempting to dictate to authors and publishers what price their ebook should be. One size fits all doesn’t work with shoes, so it certainly doesn’t work with anything as complex as the book market. And for MatchBook, Amazon should back off their insistence on cutting the price at least in half. Set a reasonable minimum to qualify, say 20%, and let those who published the ebook decide the rest. Some would offer more. Some would offer less.

    But of course letting others, even if they’re as intimately involved in a book as its author, runs contrary to Amazon’s obsession that they and they alone must control everything. It’s a sad situation to be in, including Amazon, and for a busy authors, it’s very tiresome. I had to spend about half an hour yesterday making sense of the intricacies of MatchBook. If I liked to do that, I’d have become a lawyer. I’d have rather been writing.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

    Reply
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