This is the third major change announced by Amazon in the last days. After retiring Amazon giveaways, Amazon now is ending its Kindle Matchbook program on October 31.
Strangely enough, I heard the news on The Passive Voice and The Digital Reader instead of Amazon. This, despite the fact that all of my books are on the Matchbook program!
Launched in 2013, Kindle Matchbook was a program where authors and publishers had the option of creating ebook and print bundles that combine a Kindle ebook with a print book sold by Amazon. The ebook could be given away for free, or sold for $1.99 or $0.99.
All of my eBooks are available for free to anyone who’s bought the print edition. However, only a handful of people take advantage of the free offer each month.
My personal experience agrees with The Digital Reader’s claim that most authors have never heard of the program, and the ones that do have books in the program report that there was little interest from readers.
“I can see why they are retiring it. I’ve had all my books enrolled in Matchbook since the beginning, allowing people to get a free ebook copy of any paperback they buy,” Shawn Inmon wrote on FB. “I think I’ve given away maybe 20 copies in all those years. It just doesn’t seem to be something people are interested in.”
Still, I will personally miss it. I think there’s something wrong about charging twice for the same content, depending on the medium, and I loved the ability to offer my readers something back.
If you’ve bought any of my books in print and wish to take advantage of the free offer while it lasts, here’s your chance.
I love Matchbook and often get the print and ebook together. Unfortunately, I think some people also took advantage of the program by buying a print copy as a gift for a friend, and then getting the matchbook copy for themselves. This may be another reason why Amazon is discontinuing. Some people abuse a good program, and then others suffer the results.
True, although I wouldn’t mind that, to be honest. The more people read my work, the better. As I always say, obscurity is my enemy, not piracy 🙂
Interesting, I’d have thought Matchbook was a fantastic idea, strange it didn’t fly. Then again, I think a lot of folks who buy print don’t read ebooks.
Hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re probably right!
I tend to agree on buying content not format issue: when a retailer will let me do it, I bundle MOBI, EPUB, and PDF together into a single product in case readers want different versions for different devices/situations.
However—contributors to anthologies aside—I’m not personally aware of anyone who actually wants an e-version and a paperback. So, I suspect Matchbook is a code burden with little benefit.
Where I can see ebook and hard copy deals being a real asset is certain types of non-fiction: a large full-colour hardback for detailed/extensive research and an ebook to carry for quick reference for example.
That is a killer application for sure. I’m afraid that baby got thrown out with the bathwater, though.
I hadn’t heard of Matchbook, but sorry to hear that you will miss it.
Best wishes, Pete.
In my mind, it was a fair thing to do. You buy a book’s contents, not a format. If you buy print, why not have the ebook as well? Like most authors, however, I noticed that a tiny part of my readers ever took advantage of it.
I dread to think what might be next!
Many people believe it will be a paywall of some sort (Amazon will request some money to publish your book).