Amazon finds low-cost solution to owning print and digital copies of books

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BYU students are looking forward to getting more books on their Kindle through MatchBook. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
BYU students are looking forward to getting more books on their Kindle through MatchBook. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

As Kindles, iPads and other tablets become increasingly popular, the divide between print and digital media continues to grow. While some prefer a hard copy, others prefer mobility.

But what about the people who like to cozy up with a book at home but prefer to take a tablet on the go?  The only current option is to pay the full price twice.

Amazon has heard its user complaints and will be launching a new program called MatchBook in October.

With MatchBook, users will be able to purchase a cheap Kindle-edition of all print books that have been bought new through Amazon since it began selling books in 1995.

“If you … 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 an Amazon press release.

These digital versions will be offered at discounted rates of $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or free.

MatchBook will also be available through the Kindle app in the Apple and Android Marketplaces, allowing other tablet users to reap the benefits.

The new service will also have record of the print books that were purchased through Amazon, making it easy for readers to know which books are eligible for the highly discounted digital copy.

According to the company’s press release, authors who are already slated to release books through MatchBook include 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.

MatchBook, coming to Kindles in October, will allow users to purchase a cheap Kindle edition of any print books they previously bought on Amazon. (Photo by Elliott Miller.)
MatchBook, coming to Kindles in October, will allow users to purchase a cheap Kindle edition of any print books they previously bought on Amazon. (Photo by Elliott Miller.)

Amazon hopes this announcement will encourage more authors and publishers to make their books available through this program.

“I love this idea,” said bestselling author Marcus Sakey in the press release. “It’s simple, brilliant and good for everybody. … It’s ridiculous to ask readers to pay full retail twice for the same book.”

BYU students are responding positively to the announcement. Corinne Morrison, a neuroscience major from Keller, Texas, finds it is smart for Amazon to cater to this new market.

“I don’t personally read a lot of ebooks, but they definitely are becoming more and more popular,” Morrison said. “I think Amazon is making a smart move by catering to this demand and building on past business.”

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