Illuminating Your Library: Kindle MatchBook Name Review


What do you need to kindle a fire? Why, a matchbook, of course.

See what I did there? I worked in three different brand names that are used by Amazon in the e-reader space. I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the way they keep coming up with new names that play on the “fire” theme. Their newest name, MatchBook, scores high in all the important areas: fit to concept, memorability, brand consistency, and ease of spelling/pronunciation.

MatchBook isn’t a product. It’s a service that lets Kindle owners download electronic editions of books that they’ve already purchased from Amazon in paper form, going all the way back to purchases made in 1995, the year Amazon got started. For some of us, that is a LOT of books. The best part is that the electronic editions will be incredibly cheap, starting at $2.99 and going all the way down to free. Free!

It’s an interesting business proposition. Most folks want either the paper or electronic editions. Will they want both? This isn’t a repeat of the LP–> CD –> MP3 situation in the music industry; when people re-bought music they already owned, it was for quality and format reasons. But do you really need a Kindle copy of Gulp if you have the paperback? Well, Amazon says that one of the most common requests they get from its Kindle customers is a way to build parallel print and digital book libraries, so there must be a demand for MatchBook. Its success will depend on how many publishers sign on (currently, HarperCollins is the only big name they’ll disclose), and how many Kindle owners take advantage of this (nearly) BOGO service.

The name itself is wonderful. Besides fitting in perfectly with Amazon’s established naming theme, MatchBook conveys the essence of the service in as economical a way as possible: they are literally matching the books you’ve already bought. There’s also a slight – very slight – suggestion of book-burning; that is, getting rid of the paper editions in favor of the e-books. I don’t think that’s the intention, but using inflammatory metaphors is always playing with fire.

MatchBook launches in October, so we’ll have to wait until then to see how many e-book editions are actually available, and how easy it is to find and buy them. And what’s next for Amazon’s e-readers? Well, Paperwhite is admittedly an outlier in the naming department (though it is a pretty sweet product – I love mine). My recommnendation for the next product name: FlashPaper. Send the check c/o Catchword, thanks.

Overall Grade: A+

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