Kindle MatchBook

Here’s Amazon’s press release and here’s basically what it says:

For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases will soon allow you to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.

This is pretty much nothing but cool. Not only for readers, but for publishers. Especially self-publishers.

I signed up both my novels for this. Paperbacks are $9.99; the bundled Kindle version is only $0.99. I added in my novella too, making the Kindle edition free with the purchase of the $4.99 paperback.

As a bookseller/publisher, this is a no-brainer. I make about $2.00 on every paperback I sell. I make the same on a Kindle book. If I sell them bundled, then I earn an extra $0.65.

This program is great for readers too. I could use this many ways. Buy a paperback as a Christmas gift for a relative and get the Kindle edition for cheap. My wife still reads a lot of paper, so she could get the paperback and I could get the Kindle version. Or let’s say I’m one of those collector types. I keep the paperback on the shelf for display and actually read the Kindle version.

Some complaints I heard was that the Kindle version should be free, comparing it to Amazon’s “Autorip” feature (where each physical CD gets free digital copies of the music). This is different and I’ll tell you why. Recording music is done once and mastered into an original. It’s then copied into various formats. So to convert a CD track to an mp3, all that’s required is software and an encoder. Click a button and you’re done.

Ebooks aren’t like that.

There is no button to push. When I build an ebook it’s a separate physical copy of the book, compiled into Kindle and ePub formats. To build a paperback, I have to use different software and templates to build the interior text file, build the cover file and then proof it all before publishing it. Different files, different skill sets and different levels of effort. In other words, two completely different projects.

As much as I’d love a push-button solution that produces perfect ebooks (which outsell my paperbacks 100 to 1), one simply doesn’t exist. I won’t compromise quality of either format for a quick-fix. That said, I elected to charge a small fee for the accompanying Kindle version. Just to compensate me for my time and effort. Seems fair on both sides. (Update: I opted to make the Kindle version free when purchasing any of my paperbacks.)

Anticipating the debut of MatchBook in October, I’ve updated the interior of my novels, Into the Badlands, fixing some typos and a few other annoyances. Both the paper and electronic versions will be completely in sync now. The Desolate, my horror novel, will also be ready to go.

I’m hoping this will drive some more sales. I also hope it’ll encourage gifting of paperbacks, thus expanding my potential readership. The success of this program will likely depend on the big publishers getting on board, however. Those are the same greedy bastards who want to sell readers a $14.99 paperback and a $13.99 ebook. That’s simply not reasonable or fair.

Either way, come October, I’m on board. And just in time for Christmas, too.

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