Amazon Offers Free Kindle eBooks For your Print-Book Purchases

Curious George
I was really surprised when I first heard the news on the Kindle’s page on Facebook. “Imagine you bought a book from Amazon 18 years ago… and then 18 years later, you could add that book to your Kindle library for free or no more than $2.99. We call it Kindle MatchBook, available starting today.”

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At that URL, Amazon offers a link that displays a list of every print book you’ve purchased from Amazon in the last 18 years that’s now available as a free (or discounted) Kindle ebook. “Over 70,000 books are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook,” Amazon explains in a press release — adding that every day, even more Kindle ebooks will become available. “It’s been great to see the positive response to MatchBook from both readers and publishers,” announceds Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content, noting that it took just a couple of weeks for the number of titles to jump from 10,000 to 70,000 — and predicting even bigger jumps in the months ahead.

I’ve never seen anything like this — and it’s stunning to see the scope of this program. “Print purchases all the way back to 1995 – when Amazon first opened its online bookstore – will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook,” Amazon explained in today’s announcement. The only bad news is I haven’t purchased many of the print editions which would qualify me for the big Kindle discount. This morning I clicked the link at Kindle Matchbook, and discovered there was only one Kindle ebook where I’d qualify for a discount: the children’s picture book Curious George.

But even that brought back a happy memory. At first I couldn’t even remember buying the book — and why had I bought it in 2006? Then I remembered a friend of mine who’d been teaching children in the Marshall Islands. I started a campaign to show her some support, suggesting to her friends online that we should all mail her one of our own favorite children’s picture books (from when we were schoolchildren). And I’d thought that the children in the Marshall Islands might enjoy the story about the happy monkey in the jungle who meets up with a Man in the Yellow Hat!

I enjoyed that experience, because it’s fun to share the joy of reading — and in a small way, I feel like Amazon is offering a similar experience. Kindle owners are getting a chance to read a lot of ebooks that Amazon knows we’re going to like — because at some point in the last 18 years, we’ve already purchased a copy! Of course, Amazon is also encouraging people to start doing their reading on their Kindles — but like a lot of stories, it all comes down to one basic truth.

Reading is fun, no matter where you do it. (Or, in the case of Amazon’s KindleMatchbook program — no matter when you did it!) :)

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