This week I want to ask you all if you’ve been to Amazon to take a look at the debut of Matchbook. In case you don’t know, Matchbook is the Amazon program that works like this:
1. At some time in the past, you bought a print book from Amazon.
2. At some point between then and now, the publisher/rights owner of that book put out a digital edition.
3. The publisher/rights owner has enrolled the book you bought in MatchBook and set a discounted price for the digital book. The discount can be Free!
Result: you are entitled to buy the digital edition at the discounted price.
If you go to Amazon and click on the MatchBook link, you will be presented with a list of digital books you can get at the discounted price.
I looked at my list and here’s what I thought.
Near Real Time Carolyn Reaction Blog
I remember that book! Free? Click. Click Click Click
Judith Ivory’s Black Silk? $2.99? Hell yeah. I refused to buy that in digital because, as I recall, it was priced HIGHER than the print version. Click.
Oh, hey! I LOST the print version of that. Or maybe I threw it away because space is dear around here. $2.99? You betcha! Click.
Oohh. There are some of my Dorchester Books, where YES, I bought the print version way back. (No, I did not click because I MADE the eBook version, and so don’t need it again.)
There’s that diet book I was totally going to use, only the cat chewed on it and now it’s somewhere under my bed. I think. Maybe. $2.99. Click.
Why aren’t there MORE books? I’m confident my print purchases from Amazon number in the hundreds.
Why are there so many missing?
WHY ARE PUBLISHERS SO AFRAID of me re-buying books I already bought from them?
If more of my print purchases had been there, I would have bought a lot more. I would totally re-buy books I remember fondly and either no longer have, or have in paperback but they’re fragile now. I’m actually worried about re-reading Loving Julia, for example, because the pages are yellowing and starting to feel a little brittle. What’s that old saw about the permanence of paper? B-effin-S. (Beffins. It’s a word now. Deal with it.)
I did not click on every book that was there. Some of them I hadn’t enjoyed enough to want in digital. Some of them I hated, but not enough for a hate re-read. And at one point, I thought, I can’t just keep clicking on everything! I’ll run out of money for food!
The oldest of the purchases on my list was from 2000. I was buying a lot of historical romance. (click click click) Avon, you have your head on straight!
No surprise, technical publishers were heavily represented in my list. I think that’s because O’Reilly has had these sorts of discounts in place for years, so all the other tech-publishers do the same. But it was nice to pick up an eBook for some of my recent tech book purchases. They were all free, by the way.
So, what do you think?
Let me know in the comments.
I just took a look at mine and was disappointed to see how little showed up. What was there was romance, but none of the books I’ve bought for my daughters.
My list had twenty-eight (romance) books. There were four that I picked up (a Chase and Kleypas historicals) and the rest were evidence of my early, non-discriminatory purchasing. I want more of the publishers to get with the program.
My list was extremely disappointing. There were only 6 titles. Three were gifts I gave other people, 2 were historical romances that I don’t really care to reread and the other was a puberty book I had bought for my son!! This might be an intriguing idea if there were more publishers who were in the game but for now, it stinks.
Well, if and when more publishers opt in, you’re list will expand. Mine was almost entirely Inspies I bought for my grandmother, but I did manage to snag a copy of Alexis Hall’s GLITTERLAND (I got a paper arc, and bought a paper copy for a friend, but I’m happy to have it in e for under $3).
Just as with Whispersync, this feature is not available in the UK. I’ve been waiting less and less patiently for Ws; I’m certainly not holding my breath for Matchbooks. (Clever name, BTW.)
Whispersync is really the wireless carrier (here in the US, it’s the Sprint Wireless Network) that Amazon uses to connect its wireless-enabled devices to a wireless network. There are areas of the US where Sprint does not have coverage so even wireless-enabled Kindles can’t use Whispersync. Whispersync Voice is, as far as I can tell, the exact same thing. Whether they had to cut another deal with Sprint to address the higher bandwidth needs of audiobook files, I can’t say, but it pretty much as to work the exact same way.
However, here in the backward US, we use a different cell technology than pretty much the rest of the world, so Kindle devices for use outside the US would need different cellular hardware.
I imagine the technology/hardware bits that would allow a Kindle device to be toggled between the two technologies is a bit of a barrier and that might not, yet, be cost effective for Amazon, as well as perhaps not cost effective to made Kindles with Non-US cell specifications.
In addition, for WhisperSync to work in the UK, Amazon would have to cut a deal with a UK wireless carrier.
The good news is that arranging for MatchBook to work in the UK is a completely different thing. The problem is almost surely a rights issue. It’s quite possible for a print book to be sold in the UK without the publisher having the digital rights.
Hachette, as another example, was only this month able to start getting digital books on sale in the UK (and other territories foreign to the US) even though they bought World Rights to the books. — I know this because this issue prevented Hachette from selling ANY of my books with them outside the US–in print or digital– and I just got the email informing me that now they can.
So, two different issues which will be solved separately.
Thanks for the comments!
Yes, I agree, if/when more publishers opt-in this could be extremely awesome. I noticed a lot of Avon titles, no surprise, they have a team that seems to understand the digital space better than any other non-technical publisher.
I’m not holding my breath, though.
Sorry, but I don’t need extra copies of books I have. I’ll save my pennies for books I DON’T already have.
[…] Carolyn’s blog about Amazon’s Matchbook program led me to poke around at Amazon and to ultimately look at my Amazon Book Wish List. On Amazon you can make as many wish lists as you like, an easy way to record a “gift registry” for yourself or family members. I use the wish list function to keep track of books that interested me, but that I was not certain I wanted to buy immediately. Or, more accurately, books I was afraid I’d forget. […]