Archive for the ‘Kindle Matchbook’ Category

Kindle Matchbook has launched!

October 29, 2013

Kindle Matchbook has launched!

Amazon’s new program

Kindle Matchbook

which allows people who bought some p-books (paperbooks) through Amazon to buy e-book versions at a reduced price (down to free, in some cases, and not more than $2.99), is now live!

They said it would happen in October: it did. 🙂

You go to the above page, and you can click a link to see which books qualify for you (you’ll need to log in again)

When I clicked on it myself, there were (drum roll…) seven titles, each of them at $2.99.

It does make me wish I’d bought more books at Amazon, rather than Borders and Barnes & Noble, since the mid-1990s. 😉

They average 69% off of the current Kindle price, which is certainly a good deal.

I’m likely to buy a couple of them, because I want the convenience of having them be searchable and immediately available.

The first one I bought is

Motivating the “What’s In It For Me” Workforce: Manage Across the Generational Divide and Increase Profits
by Cam Marston

That has a lot of good insight into how different generations in the American workplace behave, and how it can be hard sometimes for one to understand the other.

Oh, this is interesting! If I want to gift the book, it is the normal Kindle price ($15.48 in this case). It’s weird to see a different “Buy” price and “Gift” price. I suspect some people are going to click “Gift” without realizing it.

In terms of publishers, mine broke down to:

  • Wiley
  • Adventures Unlimited
  • Minotaur
  • Avon
  • Chronicle
  • Down East
  • Newmarket

It appears that every time you visit your qualifying titles page, it recalculates the list. That makes sense (you could have bought something in-between), although it does slow things down a bit.

They are listed in reverse chronological order (most recent purchase first).

You do not need a hardware Kindle to take advantage of this: a free Kindle reading app is fine.

There is a notification on a p-book’s product page if it qualifies. When I went to the e-book product page for one I owned, it said:

Kindle MatchBook: $2.99 because you’ve purchased the print edition.
You Save: $7.00 (70%)

Here is a list of all of the

Kindle Matchbook titles

As I write this, there are 74,214 (I’ll keep an eye on this in the future, to see if it expands). Update: there are actually fewer this (Wednesday) morning, with 74,185. That’s not a lot fewer, but it is a bit odd.

Yes! I was curious about this. If you go to the product page for an e-book where you didn’t get the p-book from Amazon, and it is part of the program, it will tell you what you would pay if you buy the p-book first. I saw a ninety-nine cent Kindle title on the list, for example. Clicking on it, I saw

“If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.”

I’ll look more at the participating publishers, but I know many of you have been waiting for this, so I’m going to publish this post now, and update it later.


Thanks, Amazon!

Update: here’s a search in order of “most reviewed”:

Kindle Matchbook titles by most reviewed

I thought that might give me some insight into the publishers.

I saw a book there where I have bought the e-book and not the p-book…no mention of Kindle Matchbook on the page, which makes some sense. You can’t get a discounted p-book when you bought the e-book, just the other way around. No real reason to alert somebody to something if they can’t take advantage of it. 😉 I would see the information if I wasn’t logged in as myself.

Here are the publishers of the top ten by most reviewed:

  • Broad Reach
  • HarperCollins
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Frontline
  • HarperCollins
  • Montlake (Amazon)
  • AmazonEncore (Amazon)
  • Independent
  • HarperCollins
  • Solis Press

HarperCollins is a Big 5 (used to be Big 6, but Random House and Penguin merged) publisher.

Update: here are the

Kindle Matchbook Program Details

Some people have asked about used books. The details say

“Kindle MatchBook offers do not apply to used books, books sold by other sellers, and books not enrolled in the Kindle MatchBook program.”

Also, you only get one shot at buying the book at the reduced price. If you buy it at the reduced price, and cancel or return it, that reduced price is not available to you for a future purchase of the same title.

Let’s get a sense of how many are available to my readers:

Update: here is the

press release

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them


Poll Party #4

September 14, 2013

Poll Party #4

My regular readers know that I really like to hear your opinion. I often ask for it at the end of posts (and I try to give you conversation starters), and I love reading (and responding to) the comments.

I know not everybody wants to, or has the time and energy to, write something like that.

That’s one reason I love the polls we do here. It gives people another way to be heard. Even though we certainly aren’t a scientific sample of the mainstream, I find it interesting to see what we are saying. I suspect we might even be predictive as a group, as far as e-books are concerned, but I don’t really know that.

Kindle MatchBook

Amazon recently announced Kindle MatchBook, a service (starting in October) that will allow you to buy an e-book at a reduced price if you have bought the p-book (paperbook) from Amazon. Not all books will be eligible, but eligible purchases will go back to the beginning of Amazon.

There has been some interesting responses to this, in particular, I’ve seen articles that question whether or not this is even something people will want.

Idle Kindles

recently wrote about the many kinds of Kindleers, and it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me.

I tend to keep all my Kindles, partially to have them as reference for questions.

However, I can honestly say I haven’t tried to turn on my Kindle 1 (the kind released in 2007) in over a year.

That got me thinking…there must by now be a lot of Kindles sitting unused in drawers and such.

Amazon’s Publishing Efforts

A lot is riding on Amazon’s publishing efforts, both as a traditional publisher and as a publishing platform (Kindle Direct Publishing).

In the past, pretty much every time Amazon has gone up against the publishers, they’ve lost (text-to-speech, the Agency Model…the latter wasn’t fixed until the Department of Justice intervened). It’s pretty simple: in terms of books, Amazon has needed the tradpubs (traditional publishers).

As Amazon continues to produce their own books, though, they need the publisher less…potentially shifting that balance.

That only really works if we buy the books, though…

I realize many people may not know (or care) who published their books, so here are some links to the options in the poll, in case you want to check:

Your Reading Profile

I’m just curious about this one…I always assume the readers of this blog tend to be “serious readers”, but I like to get more data.

Comfort Level with Your E-reading Device

When I started this blog over four years ago, I was doing a lot of basic “how tos” and tips and tricks.

Over time, my sense has been that the devices have gotten easier to use, and people come into them knowing more about them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t go back to the basics…I know that you always should do that in every endeavor, and that you are far more likely to overestimate people’s knowledge of a topic you know than underestimate it in most cases.

So, I’ll ask…

Used to Uses

Bookstore sales continue to drop this year (down 6.3% in July, according to this Publishers Weekly article). That’s leading some people to say that p-books are going away. I don’t think that myself, although I do think that how they are going to be used may change dramatically. For example, I’ve been suggesting that we may see $50 as a common price for a hardback novel by a brand name author (with better materials and manufacturing, and more of a luxury feel).

Another factor that got made me want to do this poll was that it is the 50th anniversary of the audiocassette (depending on how you measure it, of course). I remember when something came up with my now adult kid about an audiocassette, and my kid had no idea what they were…despite having frequently used an audiocassette player at maybe five years old (and something like ten years before the question about them).

That doesn’t mean they aren’t still around…somewhere…but they seem to be not much in the public consciousness of New Millenials.

I was also amused to a reference recently to an animal having a “…nose like Jimmy Durante“. I wondered how many people reading that story online got anything out of that line!

Glass Check

I’m often described as an optimist, and I wouldn’t argue with that. It sometimes suggests that I’m living in a fantasy world and am deluded about reality…I might want to refute that point. 😉

How about you?

I certainly expect the fewest answers on that last question, because most people aren’t gong to want to define themselves that completely…they are going to see themselves as a mix, or undefined. We’ll see, though. 😉

Polls are certainly just one way to express your opinion. I know some of you will have more to say on these, and may question my wording and options (which is fine, of course). Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

I’ll be interested to see what results we get!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Kindle MatchBook: Amazon has the power

September 5, 2013

Kindle MatchBook: Amazon has the power

Amazon recently announced an upcoming program called Kindle MatchBook. Customers will be able to get an e-book copy of a p-book (paperbook) they previously purchased from Amazon (back to 1995) for a reduced price…sometimes for free.

When I wrote about it, I looked to anticipate some complaints that people would have.

I underestimated one…I should know better than to think I’ve plumbed the depths of people’s ability to complain on the internet. 😉

I said people would say this:

“Why isn’t XYZ book part of the program?”

[My response]: It’s going to take a while to get this going…there are agreements to make, and features (like X-Ray, which gives you information about the book) to add.

Well, I read right away in the Kindle forums that people thought this wouldn’t include books from the Big 5 (Big 6 at the time of a lot of these purchases, before the recent merger of Penguin and Random House) USA trade publishers.

After all, those publishers commonly don’t enable lending for their books, and they are the ones that sometimes (but diminishingly, I think) block text-to-speech access.

Let’s start out with the fact that we already know Big 5 books will be part of the deal.

Amazon shows some titles on the Kindle MatchBook page linked above.

They include several books from HarperCollins, one of the Big 5.

So, the basic premise of the complaint is invalid…but hey, that’s never stopped anybody from complaining before. 🙂

I, however, also jumped to a mistaken conclusion…which I will correct now.

When I wrote about “agreements being made”, I was picturing Amazon getting publishers to choose to put their books into this program.

You know what? Amazon doesn’t need their permission.

This is a rare case where Amazon really does have the power. Typically, when Amazon goes up against the publishers, they lose…text-to-speech, the Agency Model (the latter needed the Department of Justice to intervene).

That’s not going to happen here.

There are no additional uses covered under copyright being proposed here.

It’s just a sale.

With the end of the Agency Model (and maybe Amazon waited to announce this until they had new agreements with Penguin and Random House), Amazon can discount all of the Big 5’s books.

That’s all this is: discounts.

Let’s say that a given e-book normally has a digital list price of $9.99, and Amazon normally sells it for $7.99. Amazon probably paid the traditional publisher something like $5 in that case (it might be $7, but let’s go with the traditional 50%).

Amazon could choose to sell that book to somebody for $2.99, and take a $2.01 loss on that sale.

Would they do that?

Sure, if they thought it would inspire other sales. That’s part of what the publishers were so mad about when Amazon made many New York Times bestsellers $9.99. Amazon was often losing money on each sale, even though the publisher got the same amount for the book as if Amazon had sold it for full price.

Amazon was  driving  down consumer price perceptions about what a book is worth. The publishers thought customers might start thinking $25 for a hardback was too high if you could buy an e-book for $9.99…and that low price was possible if Amazon was willing to lose money on that sale.

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I can tell you that you have to think in terms of populations of sales, not individual transactions. We could lose money on a TV Guide sale, if it meant we made money on other books the customer bought at the same time.

Consumers often, reasonably, only think of it as one sale at a time…what am I, as the customer, paying?

Amazon could do the same thing here. They could offer every single book in Kindle MatchBook right now, no deals needed.

However, Amazon doesn’t want to lose money…despite what some investors may think. 😉

Ideally, they can make these Kindle MatchBook offerings and still make money on them…in addition to cementing customer relations like few programs before.

How could they do that?

If the publishers take less money for Kindle MatchBook sales.

Basically, the publisher would agree that the price of the e-book is less if the customer bought the p-book from Amazon, and their wholesale payment would be based on that.

Amazon doesn’t need that price-lowering to do this, but it’s better for the e-tailer if they get it.

So, my guess is that what is happening is that Amazon will not put traditional publishers’ books into the program unless the publishers agree to lower payments.

It’s Amazon’s choice whether a book is available for Kindle MatchBook, not the publishers.

HarperCollins tends to be pretty consumer forward in their policies (leaving out the weird thing they did with e-books for public libraries). They didn’t block text-to-speech access, for example. I’m not surprised they would have agreed to this earlier than some others who tend to be more drag-foot about these kinds of innovations.

Why can’t the publishers simply do this themselves, and maybe charge $3.99 instead of $2.99?

Simple…they don’t know which customers bought their books in paper.

When you buy a book from a retailer (online or in a brick-and-mortar), the publisher isn’t told that you, as an individual, bought it.

They don’t know who you are…but Amazon does.

Nobody would want to just offer this discount to everybody, regardless of whether or not they bought the p-book. That’s just lowering the price across the board, and not using a special discount to influence future shopping behavior (which is what makes discounting work).

Amazon has the data needed to make this program work. Amazon can discount the books without the publishers’ permission…they could even discount an e-book that is from a different publisher than the p-book (say, an Open Road e-book of a p-book published by Random House). However, they would rather have the publisher give them a better wholesale price when they do it.

My guess is that publishers generally want to be in this program. I think customers will make buying decisions on whether or not they get this…I also think it will draw people away from Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Those two would have a tough time matching it, especially if they lost money. Remember, Amazon can make money on “diapers and windshield wipers” (as like to say) when you are their customer. B&N and Kobo just aren’t diversified enough in their offerings to use that strategy.

Yes, it’s possible that bundling costs publishers some money in the future. Will customers buy p-books as gifts, and that way get the e-books for themselves as a reduced price? Sure, that’s possible.

However, if it shifts that people don’t want to buy the books at all unless they get this bundle, being in the bundling business is almost necessary.

Looking at the future, I wouldn’t want to be the only Big 5 publisher not in this deal…authors might not want to go with me if I wasn’t part of it, customers might opt against my books even if they don’t know one publisher from another.

Well played, Amazon!  Leveraging your data to give you an advantage…and for once, having the power over the publishers.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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