Amazon announces Kindle Matchbook, upgrades Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite reading achievements

Check out our review of the upgraded Kindle Paperwhite eReader.

Announced on Amazon yesterday, the online retailer is launching a new program that allows customers to purchase the Kindle version of a book for an inexpensive price assuming the customer has purchased a physical copy of the book first. Called Kindle Matchbook, the digital Kindle versions of purchased books could be completely free or priced between $0.99 to $2.99. Somewhat similar to the movie industry’s attempt to package a digital copy of a film with a Blu-ray purchase, this is an interesting marketing tactic that allows book consumers to transition to a Kindle and replace their book collection with digital copies for a lower price.

When Kindle Matchbook launches during October 2013, the program will include over 10,000 titles with more to come in the future. Authors include within the starting batch of titles include Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Neil Gaiman, Jo Nesbo, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance. 

Kindle Matchbook

Any physical book that’s already been purchased by a Amazon customer in the past 18 years will be offered for download at the discounted price assuming the book is included in the opening batch of titles. As an example, Amazon VP of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti said “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.”

However, only new books that were purchased from Amazon will qualify for the program. New books purchased through a third party vendor or used books purchased through Amazon resellers will not qualify for Kindle Matchbook.

In addition to Kindle Matchbook, Amazon is rolling out a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite at the end of the month. Launching on September 30, the new Kindle Paperwhite will include a processor that’s 25 percent faster than the previous model, a higher contrast display, a more responsive touch panel for interacting with books and a new version of the built-in light that’s designed to reduce eye strain. Ideally, the new processor should help books launch faster and decrease page load time. 

Kindle Paperwhite reading achievements

Regarding software, Amazon will include a higher level of parental controls in the form of Kindle FreeTime. Parents will be able to setup user accounts on the Kindle Paperwhite as well as individual reading goals for their children. Amazon is also attempting to make reading more entertaining by allowing children to earn achievement badges for reading consistently or reading lots of books. Parents will have access to data such as time spent reading, number of words looked up and total books read.

In addition, Amazon has integrated Goodreads into the Kindle Paperwhite as well as a new vocabulary builder, smart look-up tool and in-line footnotes. It’s extremely likely that these upgrades will also be included in future versions of the Kindle Fire tablets when those tablets are announced later this month. Similar to previous Kindle models, there’s a version of the Kindle Paperwhite with advertisements for $119 and a version without the special offers priced at $139.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

PlayStation does the smart thing, stops selling digital codes at physical stores

Sony will no longer offer PlayStation digital full-game downloads at retail stores. The game downloads will now only be available directly from the PlayStation Network's own digital store.

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover giant chimneys spewing energy from the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have discovered two exhaust channels which are funneling matter and energy away from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy and out towards the edges of the galaxy, dubbed galactic center chimneys.
Emerging Tech

A milestone in the history of particle physics: Why does matter exist?

If matter and antimatter were both produced in equal amounts by the Big Bang, why is there so much matter around us and so little antimatter? A new experiment from CERN may hold the answer to this decades-long puzzle.
Emerging Tech

Dublin Airport has a novel idea for tackling rogue drones

There are a growing number of technology-based solutions for dealing with rogue drones flying near airports, but officials at Dublin Airport have come up with another idea for keeping the skies safe.
Emerging Tech

This sleek new exoskeleton makes walking easier, fits under your clothes

A new ankle exoskeleton that is designed to be worn under clothes can help people to walk without fatiguing — and without restricting natural motion or drawing attention to itself.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s latest breakthrough could make DNA-based data centers possible

Could tomorrow's data centers possibly store information in the form of synthetic DNA? Researchers from Microsoft have successfully encoded the word "hello" into DNA and then back again.
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards