Today, Amazon launched its new program Matchbook. If you are already familiar with Amazon's Autorip program for music, Matchbook does the same thing, only with your previously purchased books. Matchbook provides Amazon customers with Kindle versions of the print books they previously bought. At today's launch, the company estimates 70,000 titles are available, with more being added all the time. However, unlike Autorip, these Kindle books are given at a discounted price instead of free. While some titles will be available for free, most will be reduced to prices that range between $0.99 and $2.99. Books available include those that have been sold on the site since 1995, when Amazon first started offering books.
Each Kindle edition available from the Matchbook program will come with all the perks of any full-fledged Kindle book including Whispersync delivery, X-ray and much more.
Already, there are some issues with the program that avid readers just don't like. First, hundreds of thousands of titles are still not available--and they may never be available. That is because publishers are able to opt in and out of this program, and many publishers are not on board yet. Readers are also not happy with the fact that they can get free MP3s with an Autorip purchase, but will still have to pay a price for a digital copy of a book they already own. Many are asking why anyone would want to buy a second copy of a book they already own. While it may help someone who has lost or misplaced a book they want to read again, most serious readers would not purchase the digital version unless it was available for free, or they really wanted to have multiple versions of a book available to them.
As to the choice of books that are available, I went to the sit today to see what I would have available from my library. I was provided with five titles, all but one priced at $2.99. There were none available for free, even though I'm sure I bought some print versions of classics I already know Amazon publishes in a free ebook version (though probably through a different publisher). Knowing that I have my printed copies readily available, I won't be purchased any of these digital copies.
However, if you were the publisher or the author of a printed book, would you be willing to opt in to this program? Do you think that it would boost your sales overall, or no make much of an impact?