If you've ever purchased physical books from Amazon, you'll soon be able to buy those same titles for your Kindle at virtually no cost. Amazon calls the new initiative Kindle MatchBook, and in many ways it resembles what the company's AutoRip program did for music; buy a physical version, and receive a digital copy to go along with it. But whereas the MP3s you get from AutoRip are always free, the retailer will be charging a nominal fee — between $0.99 and $2.99 — for the Kindle version of a paperback or hardcover you've ordered. Some titles enrolled in the program will be free, however.
As it did with AutoRip, Amazon will need to rally publishers behind the program before you'll get their content at such a hefty discount. Over 10,000 books will be available via Kindle MatchBook when it launches in October, and your entire order history (dating back to 1995 for longtime users) will qualify for discounted Kindle books. Only books that were purchased new will count towards MatchBook, however. “If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase — 18 years later — to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” said Russ Grandinetti, VP of Kindle content. Amazon says the bundling of physical and digital books has been a top customer request for years.