Amazon (s AMZN) officially launched Kindle MatchBook, its previously announced program that lets publishers and authors bundle print books with discounted digital editions, on Tuesday. A little under 75,000 titles are included so far — up from the 10,000 announced in September. Readers who bought the included titles in print will have the option to buy the Kindle version for $2.99 or less.
Amazon’s release lists some of the “major publishers” making at least a few titles available for the program: “HarperCollins, Macmillan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amazon Publishing, Wiley, Chronicle Books, and Marvel,” along with “thousands” of titles by self-published authors.
It’s tough to say exactly what the split is between the books from traditional publishers and the books from self-published authors. But when I searched the Kindle MatchBook-eligible titles by publisher, I found that most of the “major publishers” Amazon cites in its release are making very few titles available to the program. A notable exception is HarperCollins, which is including over 9,000 titles in the program. Just nine of those were published in the last 90 days, suggesting this is largely a play to spur ebook sales of older titles. (Note, too, that HarperCollins is the only big-five publisher making its older ebooks available to ebook subscription services Oyster and Scribd.)
Macmillan, by contrast, is only including 50 books for now, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is including 36. I haven’t gone through every title on the list, it seems likely that a significant number of books in the program are either published by Amazon Publishing or are self-published — as is the case with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Amazon’s program that lets Kindle-owning Prime members borrow one ebook for free per month.
Russ Grandinetti, VP of Kindle Content, says Amazon expects Kindle MatchBook to “keep expanding rapidly in the months ahead.” Grandinetti previously told me that publishers and authors will be able to include titles in the program just for limited periods — so they could do a promotion, for instance, where a discounted or free ebook is bundled with a print book for just a short time.