Amazon Offering Discount E-Books On Previously Purchased Books (But The Selection Is Wanting)

Looking at the current state of MatchBook, it feels like this photo may represent all the books currently included in the program.

Looking at the current state of MatchBook, it feels like this photo may represent all the books currently included in the program.

Back in September, Amazon gave a vague launch window for its new MatchBook program, which allows customers who bought printed books from the e-tailer over the years to now have the option of buying an e-book version of those titles at a discount. Today, MatchBook finally launched, though only with around 75,000 titles included.

Given that Amazon currently lists several million books for sale, the 75,000 number isn’t all that impressive. As GigaOm points out — and was confirmed by checking through my own MatchBook options — HarperCollins seems to be the only major publisher to be fully invested in MatchBook at this point, representing around 9,000 (12%) of the currently available MatchBook deals, while other big print-publishing players like MacMillan and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt only have a few dozen titles available.

I’ve probably purchased more than 150 books from Amazon over the last decade-plus, but only three books are currently being offered at MatchBook discounts, and all at the top MatchBook price of $2.99. The most recently published book made available to me was from mid-2011, while the others are both around 10 years old.

Thus, the emphasis currently seems to be on giving customers who may have lost or given away a previously purchased book the chance to get the e-book for relatively cheap.

Of course, not everything starts out perfectly. Anyone who remembers the early days of Netflix streaming knows what we’re talking about. So it’s possible that Amazon wanted to get this program launched now and hope it picks up steam with publishers and customers. Whether or not MatchBook is still being promoted a year from now will be a better indicator of its long-term prospects.

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  1. gearkitty says:

    I want this program to work and hopefully it will take off. If they can get more publishers on board it could be a fantastic way to boost sales of both media. I currently buy all of my books electronically, but if I could buy the Physical copies and also get the kindle versions for an additional $2-$3 per title, I would do so in a heartbeat because sometimes you just don’t want to stare at a screen.

    • jdgr says:

      I agree with the “pay a little more” idea as well. I’d be willing to pay a few bucks more to get a book in multiple ways, because then I could read it however was convenient at the time.

      The only bad part is that the physical book and the ebook will never sync up to which part I last left off reading. ;)

  2. dsmith says:

    The worst part isn’t the relative lack of books (of the 50+ books I’ve bought for myself since 1999, exactly three are available for this program).

    It’s that the three books that are available for me to re-buy as Kindle books, weren’t very good. :(