"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. Available for thousands of great print books purchased new from Amazon, going all the way back to 1995 when Amazon first opened its online bookstore. Read the Kindle edition on any Kindle device or on PC, Mac, iPad, Android tablet, or mobile phone with our free Kindle Reading Apps." - From Amazon.com
Of course, it's coming to the States first so I'll have to wait, but I'm so excited! When Amazon announced AutoRip I wondered if they'd ever do for dead tree books what they did for CDs. Angry Robot proved bundling an ebook with a physical copy could be done by those willing to offer it.
Amazon's been sending me
drugs print books since February 2006 and it's not a stretch to say the number bought is in the hundreds. Maybe 300. Or more. Some of them unread. Cough. Just a small percentage, say 10%, of authors and publishers taking part in this new programme would net me 30 new Kindle copies. Now some of those print editions are over 1,000 pages long - my poor wrists would be thankful for this!
Piracy may decrease slightly in response. I'll admit, I've downloaded something quickly to find a specific quote that I couldn't find by spending 10 minutes flicking through the pages. Gift-giving would become a lot easier; books I wish to give to others, I can now also keep for myself - for a fraction of the cost. And in the cases where I've owned both the physical and digital copy (mostly classics), I've read the paperback while marking the highlights in the Kindle edition - the best of both worlds.
Er, none from the reader perspective, that I can see anyway. Authors and publishers are sure to worry about the perceived depreciation of dead tree books and the increasing power of the evil Amazon behemoth, but this is easily remedied if they follow the Angry Robot model; buy a book from a brick-and-mortar store, supply your email address at the checkout and receive a coupon for the free or subsidized e-version.
Will bundling take off?
I hope so. Like all things, it'll take time. I suspect the titles introduced at MatchBook's launch will be mostly self-published and small press. They will be the guinea pigs. Publishers will keep an eye on their progress until such time they feel confident enough to dip their toes into the water with a small sample. Their willingness to experiment with its viability as a new profit-making device will determine the overall outcome.
Put simply: if enough readers line up to pay money for bundling, it will succeed and prosper.
As one of those pesky readers, I want to say...
*Also posted on Wordpress.