Is Kindle Matchbook a Trojan Horse?

Kindle Matchbook is Amazon’s latest promotion tool for ebooks. Buy a paperback and you can get the ebook for a discounted price, anywhere between $2.99 and free. Sounds great, doesn’t it? You can save money! But I wonder if Matchbook isn’t a bit of a Trojan Horse, a sales pitch masquerading as a discount.

Here’s my thinking:

When the ebook revolution began, pundits loved to declare the book was dead. Just as the DVD had magnetised the VHS and the CD had unspooled the cassette, the ebook would burn the paperback. But it didn’t work out that way. DVDs and CDs provided durability and better quality, but ebooks didn’t offer either; they were just another option to buyers. Now they could buy a hardback, a paperback, or an ebook.

And how many people buy a hardback and a paperback of the same book?

Amazon make more money on ebooks. Ebooks don’t have many costs associated with them, just storage and delivery (which is pennies compared to the warehouse storage and shipping resources needed for paperbacks, not to mention the costs of picking, sorting and packaging).

That’s why I think Matchbook is a Trojan horse. Amazon know most readers won’t pay for a second copy of the book they just bought. But by putting it there, they increase the chances of introducing a paperback reader to ebooks. They increase the chances of you opening the gates, letting the wooden ebook into your city, and letting little Trojan thoughts run around in your head, telling you ebooks are better than paperbacks.

Amazon hope Matchbook will be another way to convert readers to the cult of Kindle.

Have you used Matchbook? Am I being a bit paranoid or am I right on the money, honey? Let me know in the comments.

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