New Yorker

Readers rejoice: Amazon launching a service to bundle eBooks with physical purchases

Readers rejoice: Amazon launching a service to bundle eBooks with physical purchases

Many of us have a large library of physical books, but it’s hard to deny the convenience of bringing your Kindle or tablet on a trip and having dozens, if not hundreds, of books at your fingers. So how do you decide if you want to buy the physical book, or the eBook? Amazon wants to make sure you don’t have to make that choice.

Starting in October with a limited number of books, you’ll be able to purchase the physical book and then be able to either get the electronic version for free, or for just a few dollars more. The program is called “Matchbook,” and it's basically an upsell, a way for the retailer to get a few extra bucks out of you when you check out.

It's hard to be cynical though, readers will be able to have the physical artifact to put on their shelf, and then have the electronic version to take with them when traveling, or just not in the mood to carry paper. This is a much better deal than buying both versions of the book for free, and will be retroactively applied to books you bought via Amazon from 1995 onward.

We tend to focus on electronic entertainment around here, but this is an exciting idea, and it could be just the thing for publishers to plump their margins. Are people willing to pay for both a physical and electronic copy of the new Neil Gaiman book? Unlikely. Will they put in a few extra bucks to get both? I know I would.

I’m curious about your thoughts.

This is great news for heavy readers, so let’s hope that more publishers jump on board.

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