Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook Offers Free Or Discounted Ebooks With Print Purchases

In a move that’s both intuitive and some adorable branding, Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook — announced today — is an example of the kind of “why isn’t everyone doing this?” functionality for which the online megaretailer is often praised. (Get it? Kindle? MatchBook? We thought it was cute.)

With Amazon Kindle MatchBook, the company explains in a news release published today that now”customers [will have] the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.”

Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook also represents a growing trend among content distributors to work with trends in media versus against them, capitalizing on consumer sentiment that having to buy “both versions” is an unnecessary jack and one that is punitive for loyal customers.

Of course, it seems like the next natural question or gripe has to do with all the physical books you may have purchased from Amazon in the past — or, more compellingly perhaps, the daunting prospect of moving from a paper books library to a Kindle device. Surely that’s holding lots of book lovers back, having a collection divided?

Amazon covers that too in the press release, with one of the really cool bits being that purchases all the way back to 1995 are covered by Kindle MatchBook. Not all titles are included just yet (the plan pilots with about 10,000 books), but the press release says:

“Print purchases all the way back to 1995—when Amazon first opened its online bookstore—will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook. Over 10,000 books will already be available when Kindle MatchBook launches in October, including best sellers like I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, with many more titles to be added over time. Customers can learn more by visiting www.amazon.com/kindlematchbook.”

Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti jokes:

“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… In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish.”

As Christmas and its season approach, the Amazon Kindle MatchBook stands to convert a lot of ereader resisters to make the switch — and also provides a significant edge over competing devices like Nook as readers make their choice in building a digital library.