Kindle MatchBook: Final nail in the printed book's coffin?

Amazon gives less expensive way to rebuild your e-book collection

My transition from the printed page to e-book has been a very slow one, which is odd considering how actively I embrace new technologies. While other friends and family members voraciously adopted reading books on their Kindle devices (or iPads, etc.), I still preferred thumbing through a new hardcover book or paperback, especially when I was reading in bed or on a cross-country flight.

I only recently started purchasing e-books, however - it finally hit me when I got finished with Book 3 of the George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones saga (A Storm of Swords) - at 1,000-plus pages, the book was so big it wasn't meant to be placed in my backpack - it's much easier to just carry along the Kindle Fire. Books 4 and 5 were purchased through Amazon, and I'm well on my way to becoming an e-book only consumer.

Now comes news from Amazon that should make that transition even easier. The company announced its Kindle MatchBook program, which gives customers the option to buy the Kindle edition of print books that they have previously purchased from Amazon. The program goes all the way back to 1995, when Amazon began its online bookstore, so if you were an early adopter, you might be able to get an e-version of that dog-eared copy of the book that's likely collecting dust on a bookshelf somewhere (or, perhaps you sold it at a garage sale years ago). The MatchBook versions will cost an extra $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 (or in some cases, free), but those prices make it appealing, especially if you've lost, given away or misplaced that print copy.

The program launches in October, and Amazon says that more than 10,000 books will be available at launch, but that still means there are many books that might not be available. This is also limited to books purchased through Amazon - so if you still went to Barnes & Noble or the former Borders bookstore (or even a Waldenbooks - anyone remember those?), you have to pay full price for the e-book if you want a print replacement.

Still, this is a nice way to take some old books that you bought pre-Kindle and give you a chance to read them again on your shiny tablet or e-book reader. Do you think you're going to take advantage of this when it launches next month? For me, I guess it depends on which titles are available for my purchases, and my desire to want an electronic copy of that book.

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