Kindle MatchBook to offer cheap digital editions of previously-purchased print books

Amazon has announced Kindle MatchBook which, like the existing AutoRip feature, is looking to pair-up physical purchases from Amazon.com with a digital offering. Eligible titles that you've previously purchased as far back as 1995 will be made available from free up to $2.99 (£1.90).

Eligibility depends on the publisher signing up to the scheme, with Amazon pushing MatchBook as an additional revenue stream, rather than a way of cannibalising duplicate digital sales.

The Kindle MatchBook scheme means that if you bought a book from Amazon there's a chance you'll be able to get the digital version to read cheaply on your Kindle.  So you can leave the paper on the shelf, or, perhaps, take it to the second hand bookshop, secure in the knowledge that you still have digital access to that literary masterpiece.

Amazon says that 10,000 books will be eligible when the service goes live in the US in October. There's no word on a UK offering, but typically, these things land overseas about six months after the US launch.

"If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase - 18 years later - to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost," said Russ Grandinetti, vice-president of Kindle Content.

"In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish." Publishers may disagree, and hang-on to the full-priced digital licence instead.

Kindle MatchBook will benefit from the usual Kindle features, including syncing across devices, easy access to definitions and highlights.

Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from, among others, Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson and J.A. Jance.

Interesting name. We can't help thinking it sounds like something you'd use to set fire to your digital books.