Many serious readers have gravitated towards e-books when the original Kindle was released in 2007. Over the last eight years many companies have begun to offer a wider variety of choice when it comes to hunting around for deals or participating in alternative ecosystems. There is a large segment of people who read both print and digital, with few discounts available when you want to bundle them together.
There is a severe lack of choice when it comes to buying the print edition and then getting the e-book. Normally, you have to buy both at full price, which can be financially draining. Well, there is some good news. There are a number of companies out there that give you discounts on the e-book when you buy the print version in either hardcover or paperback.
In 2013 Amazon launched a program called Kindle Matchbook that allows you to buy the e-book version of a print book. There are only around 100,000 titles enrolled in the program and the books had to be bought from Amazon and not a 3rd party seller. The cool thing about Matchbook is that all of participating books are retroactive, going back 18 years. The big hyping factor is the e-book costs $2.99 or less. One of the downsides is that Matchbook is only limited to the United States and Amazon has no plan to expand it.
One of the most popular e-book bundling programs out there is run by a Vancouver, BC company called Bitlit. They have received some fairly large influxes of cash from a myriad of investors, including former Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis.
Readers take photos of their books’ spines on their shelves and send them to BitLit via an app, branded as Shelfie. The BitLit system then reads the spines and determines which books are available to the reader, either free or for a discounted price, as set by the publisher. In this way, readers who own print copies can obtain digital copies of them—and publishers capture new data on readers who were formerly only print customers. There are currently over 140,000 titles enrolled in the program.
In the end, these are the only two companies that offer any kind of discount when you have the print edition and want a discount on the e-book, a sad state of affairs.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.