Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amazon's Kindle Matchbook Program

By Mark Young
Amazon is about to launch another program geared to tempt readers to buy more books—print and digital. Sort of a two-for-one deal! Past, present or future print-book purchases from Amazon will qualify readers to purchase the Kindle version for less than 50 percent its current list price/ These Kindle novels must be listed at a price point of $2.99 or less under this new deal.

Here is how I understand the program works. If you buy a print book form Amazon, you can opt to enter the Matchbook program and select the Kindle version at a greatly reduced price. This digital versions will range in price from absolutely free to a maxim cost $2.99. One caveat: This program will only include books from authors and publishers who have chosen to participate in this program.

Amazon has made this offer retroactive to include books purchased through their company going back as far as 1995 when they first opened their online bookstore. It will include books currently released and those released in the future.

On Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook FAQ page, the company tries to answer most of the questions that authors and publishers might have about the program.
One question that caught my attention had to do with how royalties would be calculated in this program. It appears the royalty is based upon the regular Digital List Price. 

For example, one of my Kindle novels is currently listed at $2.99, which allows me to earn 70 percent royalty. I have chosen to lower the digital price to .99-cents as a Promotional List Price. If I understand this formula correctly, I should expect to earn 70 percent of the Promotional List Price of .99-cents, rather than the normal 35 percent of books priced less than $2.99.(Amazon’s 70 percent royalty is only available for books price from $2.99-$9.99 in participating countries).

Looking at the broader picture, will this Kindle Matchbook program interest readers to buy two versions of the same book? I asked this question on the Kindleboards (KB) site to see what other authors and readers might be thinking. Now, keep in mind that most of these KB viewers are biased toward the Kindle version. At last count, 2,337 viewers clicked on my question to read what others had to say about this program, and 62 people jumped into the conversation to record their thoughts. Here are some of their comments:

One woman wrote: “I don’t have that many print books I’ve bought through Amazon. And I seldom buy or read print anymore. But I might use it to get eBook versions of a few books I bought for hubby through Amazon…and if I buy a gift paper book for someone, I might get the eBook version for myself. It would be neat if the reverse were also true—buy the full price eBook and receive a discount on the print book so that the total price is the same.”

Another viewer wrote: “I am looking forward to it because of past print books (pre-kindle) I bought and never read; maybe now that I can get them on the Kindle for a low price, I will read them! “

One man write back: “I can certainly understand Amazon’s intentions for this program—to drive eBook consumption and thereby drive Kindle sales—but it would be nice if they offered the reciprocal arrangement with the possibility of getting a print book at a discount once the eBook was purchased. I know a lot of people who don’t buy DTBs except as gifts or souvenirs. Amazon has sold millions of eBooks; I am sure they could boost the print sales if DTB’s were offered at a discount to purchasers of their eBook versions.

And lastly, this reader’s comments made me chuckle: “When is this program starting? I just ordered Nicholas Sparks new books for my MNL and would like it on Kindle so I wouldn’t have to wait for her to finish. She loves her Kindle but she has his whole collection so figured why stop now.”

I went ahead and started entering my novels onto the Matchbook program figuring it could not hurt to try it out. Who knows…maybe my novels will attract the attention of readers like the last person just quoted above who could not wait for MNL to finish reading the latest Nicholas Sparks novel. (Oh, in case you were wondering what  ‘MNL’ mean, I looked it up. Apparently it means ‘My New Love,’ at least in the context in which it was used. Either that or they were talking about flying to NML, which is the airport code for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines.)

What are your thoughts about this new Amazon program?