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3 Ways Authors Can Use Amazon MatchBook to Sell More Books

September 3, 2013

For any authors who have published via Kindle, Amazon’s new program Kindle MatchBook will help you’ll sell digital copies of your old books, get more people talking about your writing, get people to your blog, and generate more interest for your current books and other offers. Here are some ideas on how to make that happen.

First, a little backstory and reason why you should listen to me on this… It’s because of my work in the music business, which was affected by something similar that Amazon did earlier this year.

In January, Amazon announced that, when you purchase a CD from the company, you’ll not only get the physical CD, but also digital files of the music in your Amazon cloud player. The new service is called AutoRip.

And it’s retroactive… If you’ve purchased a CD from Amazon in the last 15 years, you get digital copies of that too.

This is a screenshot of an email they sent out to people buyers affected by the launch:

Amazon-auto-rip

MatchBook is a similar service for books. If you’ve purchased a physical book from Amazon since 1995, as long as the book is enrolled in the MatchBook program, you’ll have the option of buying the digital version of that book for $2.99 or less. And if the publisher has agreed to it, like AutoRip, you’ll get a digital copy free of charge.

Working in the music business and having been directly affected by Amazon’s AutoRip service, I can tell you firsthand that MatchBook will be good for book authors and publishers. It will be especially good for self-published authors.

As a author or publisher, the biggest book publishing issue you face right now is getting your books noticed. Without that happening, your book might as well not exist. This is why MatchBook is great for authors and publishers — it helps get the word out about your book by getting an additional copies into the hands of readers and extends the “life” of the title.

How to Use Amazon’s MatchBook to Sell More Books

Tip #1: Get In Early

MatchBook, especially for authors and publishers who are willing to take the chance and get in early, before the novelty wears off, will once again get their books on the minds of the people who purchased them. I know because I saw how things worked when AutoRip did the same thing for music earlier this year.

Let’s take my AutoRip experience as an example…

I have 31,572 songs in my Amazon Cloud Player. There are 3473 albums.

That’s a lot of music and that kind of volume makes it easy for things to get lost. Book lovers who read a lot often have a similar situation — shelves after shelves of books. Who knows what titles are there?

By getting emails such as the one in the screenshot above, which featured music I’d purchased as long as 15 years ago, including many titles I hadn’t heard since around that time, I was reminded how much I still love many of those songs.

That got me excited about using Amazon’s Cloud Player again and got me going through all the music I had stored there.

Which got me thinking about the artists I was listening to and wondering what they’re doing.

Then I started looking things up… Do these artists have new music out? Are they touring?

And that got me buying more music.

Thanks to MatchBook, something similar will happen to your books. Wouldn’t it be great to have an email sent to all the people who have previously purchased a physical copy of one of your titles letting them know a reduced-price digital copy is available? Not only will you have the opportunity to make a little money from the program, you’ll also get people excited about your book again.

Tip #2: Bring Old Titles Back to Life

If you’re doing a good job of marketing, you’ve already set up a mailing list so you can keep in touch with customers. If not, start a mailing list now.

Too often, book authors and publishers don’t do a good job keeping in touch with readers. And many times, they feel “pushy” when sending an offer to buy, especially if the offer is for a older title.

MatchBook gives you the opportunity to send out something about books you might otherwise be neglecting. People who have read and enjoyed your books in the past will love the opportunity to receive a reduced-price (or free) digital copy.

Tip #3: Boost Current Titles

Every day, more and more people are getting Kindles, iPads, and other e-reader devices. A reduced-price (or free) digital copy of books you’ve previously sold in physical form will be a great excuse for somebody with a new e-reader to fill it up with your titles.

This promotion will be especially popular in October, when Amazon releases its new and improved Kindle Paperwhite. It will also work well shortly after the holiday season, when new Kindle owners will be looking for books to download.

BONUS TIP: The 2-for-1 Offer (This is Controversial!)

Here’s the “dirty little secret” of services like AutoRip and MatchBook…

If a person buys a paperback copy of your book, he’ll get the digital copy too. But what if the paperback is a gift? Yep, he still gets the digital copy delivered to his Kindle or Amazon Cloud Reader.

In other words, it’s kind of a “two-for-one” deal.

You can use this “two-for-one” to your advantage. For example, you could encourage people to purchase a physical copy of your book to give as a gift while emphasizing that a reduced-price (or free) digital version would be theirs to keep.

To me, this is very smart. Sure, you won’t get as much money as you would on a full-price second copy (assuming the person would buy a full-price second copy anyway), but now you have two people who know each other, each with a copy of your book. This will encourage them to talk about it and the ideas within, which will get them even more invested in the book and what you’re doing.

The more people that read your book, even if it’s a free or reduced-price copy, the more likely it is to be successful.

Amazon’s MatchBook is a great opportunity for readers, authors, and publishers. It will make people more likely to buy your books as well as stay engaged with them. Because people will essentially be able to get two copies of your title, it will make books easier to share.

Take advantage of this and you will make more money!