I assume that, by now, anyone with both paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon will have signed up to the MatchBook programme. If you don’t know what it is, starting in October, anyone signed up can offer their eBook at a reduced rate for those who have purchased the paperback already. I assume it will also be available to purchase both in the same transaction.
Although I have signed up, I do wonder how well this programme is going to do. To use a good old English expression, it seems a little arse about face to me (that means the wrong way round, if you didn’t know already).
There are plenty of times I’ve heard of people saying that after reading an eBook, they decided to buy the paperback so they could have the book on their shelves, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard it the other way round. Of course, it couldn’t work that way round for Amazon, because they don’t produce all the paperbacks that will be part of this programme (I understand it’s available to both traditional publishers and self-publishers), especially as some authors keep their digital rights when publishing with a traditional publisher. Also, some books may no longer be in print, even though customers bought them through Amazon originally, whereas eBooks are supposedly a ‘forever available’ item. I also can’t imagine that many impulse buys where someone says, what the heck, I’ll buy both, especially when it comes to novels.
However, I can see it being of use for non-fiction, specifically reference books. You could read the eBook on your way to work, say, to appraise yourself of the basic information, but then have the paperback on your shelf to refer to at a later stage. Writing books would be a good example of this. I usually buy the paperback because I want the easy reference ability, but I might be tempted to buy both if I saw there was an offer.
I guess, as with all the other developments in this rapidly changing market, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.