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Amazon is Shutting Down Kindle Matchbook, Its Print+eBook Bundling Program

It’s only been a few short days since Amazon announced that Amazon Giveaways was ending, and now they’ve decided to shut down another promotion service. I have heard from multiple sources (thanks, Lindsay, Adam, and Nicole!) that the retailer sent out an email today informing authors that the Kindle Matchbook program is going to be shut down on 31 October.

Here’s the email:

Starting October 31, we’re retiring the Kindle MatchBook program. If you have books enrolled in Kindle MatchBook, they’ll be unenrolled at that time.

Here are a couple things to know:

  • Readers will still be able to buy books in their preferred format (eBook or paperback).
  • We’ll issue payments from any remaining Kindle MatchBook sales on your regular payment schedule.

Best regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

Launched in 2013, Kindle Matchbook was a program where authors and publishers had the option of creating ebook+print bundles that combine a Kindle ebook with a print book sold by Amazon. The ebook could be given away for free, or sold for $1.99 or $0.99.

If you’ve never heard of this program, you’re not alone. Aside from the stories about the publishing industry losing its shit when Amazon launched Kindle Matchbook, it has gotten almost no media attention.

Most authors have never heard of it, and the ones that do have books in the program report that there was little interest from readers. "I can see why they are retiring it. I’ve had all my books enrolled in Matchbook since the beginning, allowing people to get a free ebook copy of any paperback they buy," Shawn Inmon wrote on FB. "I think I’ve given away maybe 20 copies in all those years. It just doesn’t seem to be something people are interested in."

Shawn’s conclusion is born out by the fate of the ebook startup Shelfie. That company launched a competing bundling service around the same time as Kindle Matchbook launch, and it shut down in early 2017. Shelfie’s tech was acquired by Kobo in April 2017, and then – nothing.

Clearly this is one of those ideas that is cooler in the abstract than in practice.

image by caligula1995 via Flickr

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Paul September 30, 2019 um 4:48 pm

Add me to the list of people who didn’t know it existed.

George July 5, 2020 um 4:11 pm

I think Amazon did a very poor job bringing this in front of users. I personally like to have both formats and will pay for it.

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Jill-Elizabeth November 21, 2019 um 12:42 pm

It was an awesome program, but for the longest time hardly anyone participated and all of the books that I would have liked to own an electronic copy we’re not included in the sale offerings… Then, since no one ever talked about it and Amazon never promoted it, frankly I forgot about it. They also made it incredibly difficult to find on their website. I never got the email indicating that the program ended, which sucks, because I would have definitely like to take a look if extra Publishers had been added! It seems strange to me that they do this with any CD you’ve ever purchased in the history of your Amazon account, yet with books it never worked out to be as easy to do or as widely available. A disappointment on the whole…

ikomrad August 25, 2021 um 3:11 pm

Great point!

jack dogs January 9, 2020 um 8:39 am

fun fact, i learned by accident, you could buy real kindle match book, to qualify for kindle copy and paste book, all the silly crap is, and then buy it .99 to xxx, and cancel the physical book order, haha. i did not plan it, but i return a lot or cancel a lot as amazon works hard to make us consumers.
it was nice, i did a few times, but if known they were 86 it maybe been more aggressive.
so you could get a set of books 10% of the entire cost..
which all should be free to 3 $ it is so absurd as it is just copy/paste.
thank the real God and russia and "librarians, and teachers" who lose royalty for their work to absurd knowledge corps we have great PDF free sites, all over the world in many languages: spanish port english are a few native lang sites where i have found great sources.
it was nice to exploit amazon and bezos, as they say in argentina "he who steals from a thief, is blessed by god.." figure out what theif i was stealing from in the cycle..
99% i get without that kindle exploit but was fun and refreshing and i never told anyone until now it is no more.

eab December 4, 2020 um 6:44 pm

i used it all the time. i am sad it is discontinued.

cScott March 5, 2021 um 3:30 am

I find it odd that there was no interest, because I like to own a physical paperback, but I find it more convenient (in many situations) to read the Kindle. At the same time, I really don’t want to pay twice (especially since a surprising number of books have ridiculously high Kindle prices, given that there is no actual print cost). Therefore, I loved being able to buy the paperback for my bookshelf and get the Kindle book free (or cheap enough to justify) for situations where the paperback wasn’t as convenient.

Clearly I was the only one though.

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