Reader, customer... however you slice it, Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN ) new MatchBook service is sure to be a big seller with Amazon shoppers. Yesterday, the world's largest online retailer officially launched the new Kindle service, which lets customers buy digital versions of print books they already own for a fraction of the cost. Buyers can now get the Kindle edition of popular book titles they've purchased on Amazon for anywhere from free to $2.99 per title.
The program currently includes more than 70,000 titles, which is up from 10,000 in September, when Amazon first announced the service. And you can expect this number to grow as more publishers and authors enroll their titles.
No match for competitors
Amazon started as a bookseller, and now, thanks to innovative offerings such as MatchBook, Amazon's Kindle is fast becoming the standard for e-books. Features like X-Ray, Popular Highlights, and Whispersync have helped Kindle gain an edge over deep-pocketed rivals, including Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iBook platform. However, to its credit, Apple's iBook now has more than 2 million books. That's double the 1 million-plus titles offered in Amazon's Kindle bookstore.
Nevertheless, Amazon's MatchBook service gives readers a compelling reason to choose its content library over Apple's, despite having fewer titles. A particular draw for consumers is that the MatchBook price applies to Amazon book purchases dating back to 1995. That means that a book you bought 18 years ago would still qualify for the discount today.
In addition, using the MatchBook program is as easy as logging into your Amazon account. Once logged in, for example, Amazon generated my entire print book order history, and identified which books were enrolled in Kindle MatchBook. Using the service, I was able to buy Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor for the MatchBook price of $2.99 instead of paying the usual $14.44 Kindle price.
Amazon should see a meaningful boost in e-book sales as more titles are added to its Kindle MatchBook service. One thing is clear: Amazon is still revolutionizing the way we buy, sell, and consume books.
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