Starting today, customers who have bought new physical books from Amazon have the option to get the Kindle e-book version of that same book for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or for free. Called Kindle MatchBook, the service spans more than 70,000 titles, with more being added every day. Titles such as “Life of Pi”, “Johnny Carson,” The Alchemist” and the all-new “X-Men Vol. 1″ are already enrolled in the service.
Kindle MatchBook users can get digital copies of their hard copy books all the way back to 1995, when Amazon first opened its online bookstore. Users just have to look up titles on Kindle MatchBook to see if it’s available for download. You can view your complete print book purchase history from Amazon.com to see which of those books are ready to download. Publishers can enroll their existing books via Amazon, but aspiring authors can also create books for MatchBook via CreateSpace.com for free.
These electronic books can be read on Kindle e-readers or tablets, or via iOS and Android devices that have the Kindle reading app loaded. Matchbook versions will come with the standard Kindle book features, including Whispersync, Popular Highlights and X-Ray. Whispersync saves your progress in a book across all your devices while Popular Highlights identify the passages that have been highlighted the most by Kindle users. X-Ray gives you a Cliff-Notes like look at a book separated by such filters as Page, Chapter, Book or a name or specific term so you can see how often and where that word appears in the book.
Anecdotally speaking, of 56 hard back book purchases we’ve made through Amazon.com since 1999, only three are available for the Matchbook program.