Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook Program: The Future of Book Buying?

In October, Amazon launched a new bundling program for e-books and print books called the Kindle Matchbook. The program allows customers who purchase a print book–or have already bought–to buy the e-book for anywhere from $2.99 to free.

1003704_442520989179525_628083315_nI have always felt that e-books and print books do not have to be mortal enemies, one leading to the others death. They can work together. I read print books. The only e-books I read are in the form of PDFs on my computer that a professor generally assigned. I don’t own a Kindle or an iPad. To be honest, i’m not sure my eyes would last long enough for me to read an entire book on a screen anyway (I tend to get migraines fairly easily). But that’s not to say I don’t see the value in e-books.

I buy hardcovers when I buy books, and maybe that’s because I have a romantic vision of what my future house will look like, with a room dedicated to books, but it’s also because I’m a re-reader. If a book’s good, I will re-read it at least once ever couple years, and my paperbacks have suffered from my re-reading. I recently had to dump my high school copy of The Bell Jar because I had highlighted, dog-eared, and tortured the poor thing to the point that it was falling apart. An e-book would be useful to someone like me. Where as some readers feel that you have to choose a side, e-books or print books, i’ve always wondered, why not both? I can read my hardcover from the safety of my own home, and the e-book can come with me everywhere else–I can access it on my iPhone while on a bus or plane, while in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. I can even spare my hardcovers the highlighting and notes in the margins and use my e-book for that instead.

Before the Kindle Matchbook, only readers with disposable income could really read books in this way. For example, one of my more recent Amazon purchases was Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. If I go on Amazon right now, the list price for MaddAddam in hardcover is $27.95. If I wanted to purchase the e-book, it would cost another $11.75. That’s not to say that every e-book costs as much as MaddAddam. Pricing of an e-book is dependent on several different factors (which I won’t get into here).

The Kindle Matchbook program is still very new and unperfected. In fact, if I go to the program’s page on Amazon and ask to see which of my purchases qualify, only one of my purchases is currently eligible–a small book on English grammar I purchased over a year ago. Not every publisher has signed up for the program, but with time, I hope that this trend will catch on.

– Melanie Figueroa


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