Indie Authors And Kindle MatchBook

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

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 kindle matchbookmeans 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?

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
This entry was posted in Indie Author Handbook, Promoting Your Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Indie Authors And Kindle MatchBook

  1. Mark says:

    Obviously big publishers don’t want to lose money when people buy both formats, but seriously … how many people buy two formats? Probably for only their most favorite books. However, if an ebook is discounted, they might buy both formats for books that wouldn’t have had that privilege before.

    I’m with you. I don’t see the downside, even for big publishers. Overall I think they would push more overall sales.

    And a clever marketer could use this to their advantage. Push the sale of both formats. Giveaway the paperback to a friend and keep the ebook for themselves. Great holiday/birthday situation.

  2. pd workman says:

    The front page announcement on Amazon today says “More than 70,000 books have been enrolled so far”.

    I love the idea. I don’t know how many times I have heard people say “I already have this book in hard cover/soft cover, can’t I get the ebook cheap/free? I’ve already paid for it once.” And yes, there are a number of books that I already have in hard copy that I have purchased on Kindle because I want to be able to carry it around in my pocket. If I want to read in the car or on the bus, I already have my phone with me, all I have to do is turn it on and start reading. And I can search, mark, bookmark, etc. without harming the hard copy.

    I released my Kindle book before my paperback (which will be out very soon) and I signed up for Matchbook immediately.

  3. I didn’t go the Kindle Direct route, since Smashwords treats its indie authors so much better than Amazon. Perhaps I will next time, now that Smashwords is doing pre-ordering. But this time around, my book was too close to the release date when the pre-order uploads began. Can’t wait for November 29th!

    I do think it’s a good idea. I recently had my basement flooded, and lost a lot of books. I found out that if the cost of the damage had been over a certain amount, they’d have depreciated the value of the books based on age. Even though I treat my books well enough they get more valuable with age. I’ve got several that are out of print. Thankfully my damage wasn’t over that level, and they paid the cover price on them, but if they hadn’t, buying the ebook would have been a nice alternative to spending lots of extra money.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and it made me cringe to think of your books being ruined. I’m a first edition collector and I can’t imagine my books being damaged :).

  4. Monet Jones says:

    I agree with you. This could be a good thing for authors and readers.

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