I recently heard about Kindle MatchBook and my first thought was is this a good thing for indie authors or not? Well, it didn’t take too much for me to conclude that there doesn’t seem to be much of a downside to this program (unlike KDP Select, but more on that below), at least for indie authors.
Indie Authors – What is Kindle MatchBook?
Ah, great question. Kindle MatchBook is Amazon’s latest program for publishers and authors, and it’s a pretty simple concept. If you buy a paperback book from Amazon, you can now purchase the Kindle ebook version at a discount. The cool thing about this is that Amazon is promising that even if you bought a book from Amazon years ago, you can still get the ebook now at a discount. Russ Grandinetti, VP of Kindle Content, says:
If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase—18 years later—to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost.
You can go as far back as 1995 for those books.
Indie Authors – What’s The Kindle MatchBook Downside?
For readers, the downside is that publishers (or we indie authors) have to sign up for the program. So that means if the publisher of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus doesn’t enroll in the program, you don’t get that ebook at a discount. In September, only about ten thousand titles are available, so at this point it doesn’t sound like many of the big publishers have jumped on board (is anyone surprised by this :)). Some say this will erode the perceived value of ebooks (readers won’t pay full price for an ebook when they have the paperback), and that it will help the legacy publishers. But will it help indie authors?
Indie Authors – Does Kindle MatchBook Help Us?
Amazon already bundles ebooks and audiobooks, so why not paperbacks and ebooks? And yeah, maybe it hurts the big publishers…I don’t know. But for a little publisher like myself, I don’t see a downside. Sure, you have to be selling through Kindle Direct Publishing, but most of us are. And Amazon is not asking for exclusivity, like with KDP Select, so I can be enrolled in the program and still sell my books elsewhere. Ebooks do have to be discounted at least 50%, but keep in mind that I would’ve just sold a paperback edition. And the royalties I make on the paperbacks are about the same, or more, than for the ebooks, so even if I’m discounting the ebook, I’ll make more money because I’m getting the royalties for both. How is this a bad thing? I don’t see it.
And Amazon could end up driving more sales. As Nate Hoffelder says:
It’s much more likely that Amazon is going to use the program to selectively suggest ebook sales based on one’s Amazon order history. I wouldn’t be surprised if I started getting emails from Amazon telling me I can get a $3 Kindle edition of past paper books purchases. They’ll be using it just like they used the $10 ebook – to tempt me into buying more ebooks.
Getting more sales – isn’t that what we want? I enrolled all my books where I have both ebooks and paperback editions. I don’t expect to see a huge uptick in sales, but we’ll see. And I’ll be sure to let you know what I learn about this program.
What do you think? Have you enrolled? What are your thoughts?