Talking tech since 2003

Remember Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook service that was announced but not launched back in September? It looks like it’s finally ready. Amazon has updated the front page of its website to announce that Kindle MatchBook is available to users beginning today.

matchbookIn case you’ve forgotten what MatchBook is, exactly, let me refresh your memory. Amazon sells quite a bit of hardcover and paperback books and did so long before the Kindle was a thing. If you purchased a physical book from Amazon a decade and a half ago, though, you still have to pay the full Kindle price to get that title as an e-book. What Kindle MatchBook does is offer a pretty significant discount on a Kindle e-book if you’ve previously bought a hardcover or paperback of the same title. If your title is supported through MatchBook, you could wind up paying $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or, in some cases, nothing at all.

Amazon claims to have over 70,000 books enrolled in the program so far. There are some big-name titles — Life of Pi, for example — and you can check out the entire list (which does indeed list 74,214 titles) at this link. For the most part, though, the vast majority of the books available in the MatchBook program seem to be older titles or titles that aren’t as popular. Not to knock a book’s lack of popularity — there are certainly good books that haven’t received the attention they deserve — but I’m just saying you’re not going to find Harry Potter-caliber blockbusters in here.

The intention of MatchBook may be to give Amazon book buyers a reason to purchase Kindles or Kindle Fires, which in turn pulls them deeper into the Amazon ecosystem. That said, I think MatchBook might have an unintended effect on my own shopping. I’ve long been a buyer of Amazon’s Kindle e-books, but knowing that I can pick up a physical copy of a book and get a discounted or free e-book version may lead me back to traditional books. Before that happens, though, Amazon needs to add more titles to MatchBook.

You can check to see if you have any MatchBook-supported purchases through this link by clicking the “Find your Kindle MatchBook titles” button. If you have thoughts about the service, please feel free to leave them below.

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