The Nameless Horror

The Matchbook damp squib

The high profile Amazon executive used his last few minutes to promote MatchBook, the program that allows customers to buy digital editions at a fraction of the price if they buy the print edition too. “Only a fraction of 1% buy both print and Kindle editions of the same book,” he stated, suggesting that publishers joining the program would lose few full-price sales.

An interesting - and not entirely surprising - figure. I like the basic idea behind the Matchbook program in so much as it’s at least an attempt at the sort of cross-medium selling that happens with movies. I still don’t and never will understand why publishers don’t figure out some way of bundling a digital edition with an ebook themselves (there are practical considerations to printing unique serial codes for download, for example, in a product anyone can pick up off the shelf and copy from). I also don’t understand (OK, I know it’s “money” but…) why they don’t do so for free, since that’s the approach that makes sense.

Otherwise you’re just asking someone to pay for the same thing twice, however discounted it is second time around. A thing they were happy to buy and consume in just one format anyway.

Double-dip selling surely only works when you’ve got something more to offer second time around?