Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kindle MatchBook

     Kindle MatchBook for Kindle Direct Publishing has been announced.  Simply put, this is a service that allows an author or publisher to give a discount on the digital version of a book when the physical copy is purchased.  May I say it is about time.  My friends and I, along with many readers and authors, have been waiting for this day for a long time.
     It seems a simple thing in reality.  The movie industry has been doing this for years upon years.  Even comic book publishers have embraced the concept, albeit with their own somewhat prohibitive pricing model.  It has seemed a very logical thing to do for the book publishing industry, though they have resisted it even as other industries have embraced it and, more importantly, garnered success from it.
     I am a great lover of the printed word, as I'm sure most authors are.  To me there is no greater or more perfect art form than the printed book.  A book has long been a vehicle to connect disparate worlds through the conveyance of great ideas and entertainment.  The rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, the educated and the less so are allowed to congregate and form unions through the simplicity of bound paper.  It is one of our oldest heritages, and we should be loath to so easily let it go.
     Convenience: this is the word of the day and the one that so defines our lives.  It need not be a dirty one, but it also need not be the altar on which we sacrifice something so beautiful as the printed word.  I feel its pull as much as anyone.  I love my eReader.  It is wonderful how it can be taken anywhere, and, strangely, is more acceptable company to some than opening an old-fashioned book, but the two can coexist.  At home, I enjoy looking through my printed books for reference and remembrance, finding what it was I was looking for only after stumbling upon other things I had forgotten or overlooked.  That is something that is being lost: the happy accident.  When information is so easily searchable, we lose the chance of discovering unforeseen things in the search.  That's why print and digital should coincide.  Amazon is making this possible for the Indie writer.
     There is a problem, however.  This is Amazon and only as part of their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform.  There is no sign on the horizon of the larger publishing industry adopting this formula*.  The industry has complained about the loss of profits and the shrinking market for printed books, and this business model would address many of those concerns.  Let the reader have the best of both worlds.  Don't let the deluded notion that giving anything away for free is a loss of profit.  It isn't.  It is a very rare circumstance that a customer is going to buy both print and digital versions, and nothing is lost by giving them the freedom to read and enjoy your product as they wish.
     I may be an unusual example with my library of dusty books, but I am not alone.  Ever since I was a child, reading the Moby Books "Illustrated Classic Edition" of The Call of the Wild or Great Expectations or any number of others, I've had a love for this medium.  It is a love that will continue until the day of my death.  I can only hope it is a love in which those that follow me can also partake.
     I know that for the Indie author this can be a tricky proposition when most of a book's profit is derived from the digital edition, but I urge all who publish with Amazon's KDP service to make use of MatchBook.  I believe it is an important service for author and reader, as well as making plain business sense.  I assure you, all of my work will be a part of this program in the future.
     I'm going to crack open a couple books today in celebration.


*Apparently HarperCollins is the one large publisher on board with the new program.  We will have to see if others join them.

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