The Kindle program, scheduled for a fall launch, follows a similar move for music.
Purchases never die at Amazon.com Inc. They return as digital revivals—with the potential, of course, of bringing in more earnings.
The No. 1 e-retailer in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide today said it will launch a service this fall designed to get more consumers hooked on Kindle e-reading technology and buying more digital books. Kindle MatchBook will enable Amazon customers to purchase, or receive for free, electronic copies of printed books they purchased from Amazon as far back as 1995.
The program will include at least 10,000 books at launch, Amazon says, with prices ranging from free to $2.99; Amazon did not say what would quality a consumer to receive a free digital book. Amazon relied on a measure of nostalgia in pumping up the program today.
“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,” says Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content. “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.”
The move comes amid digital content growth for Amazon. In the second quarter, the e-retailer’s “top 10 selling items worldwide were all digital products—Kindles, Kindle Fire HDs, accessories and digital content,” said CEO Jeff Bezos in announcing the retailer’s most recent earnings.
Kindle MatchBook follows a similar program for CDs that Amazon announced early this year. That when the e-retailer said its Amazon AutoRip service would would enable consumers to receive MP3 versions of CDs bought from the e-retailer as far back as 1998.
The digital book program isn’t the only new offering from Amazon as summer winds down. The web-only merchant’s Shopbop.com—an upscale women’s apparel site Amazon bought in 2006—has begun selling men’s clothes under the East Dane brand. East Dane is a division of BOP LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com. No immediate comment from Amazon was available.