Baen Books to Drop Kindle Delivery Option From Its eBookstore

Baen_logo_small_color[1]Here's a frustrating bit of news.

The SF publisher Baen Books sent out an email yesterday to its customers with the news that it will shortly have to stop delivering Kindle ebooks via email:

Starting on or about June 10, 2015, Baen Ebooks will no longer be able to provide automatic delivery of the .mobi format to a Kindle device via the "Email book to my Kindle" feature. We have just learned that to comply with Amazon’s Terms of Use, Baen Ebooks cannot use Amazon’s Personal Documents Service to deliver paid content.

The rest of the email included instructions on how users can email the ebooks on their own.

Baen will of course continue to sell Kindle ebooks DRM-free, it's just that for some inexplicable reason they are no longer allowed to email said ebook to your Kindle account. Readers can still do it themselves, however.

As with any of Amazon's decisions, i would not try to read too much into this. I know that one site is saying that Amazon has changed its rules recently, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.

A member of Baen's Bar found the rule in question, and it turns out that Amazon has always had the rule that this service cannot be used for commercial purposes. The rule exists, yes, but Amazon turns a blind eye to violations.

For example, Amazon is currently not enforcing the rule against netGalley, and they are letting Smashwords email docs to your Kindle account.

I can't tell you why or how Baen Books ran afoul of Amazon, but I wouldn't read anything into it other than the obvious conclusion: that Jeff Bezos bites the heads off of kittens.

Seriously, folks, I doubt this change will matter much. I suspect that any reader who is savvy enough to shop at Baen Books is also knowledgeable enough to either sideload an ebook over a USB cable or simply email the ebooks on their own.

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

13 Comments on Baen Books to Drop Kindle Delivery Option From Its eBookstore

  1. It may even be as simple as that someone on Baen’s web team was looking over the rules and said, “Hey, wait a minute, how did we never see this before? We better cut this out before Amazon notices and complains about it.”

    Given that Baen’s web team now is not the same people who originally started the store, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

  2. Smashwords had issues too and had to change some things a while back to get the direct thing working (I’m not sure it currently is implemented as I haven’t tried it in a while). Amazon does frown on the practice and I think they will flag it if they see it. After all, they aren’t making any money if someone buys direct from Baen. So it doesn’t surprise me that it was halted. Yes, it’s frustrating, but Amazon isn’t going to go out of their way to help another site sell content when they don’t benefit.

  3. O’Reilly’s Send To Kindle still works. It’s not ‘automatic’: you have to go to your account product page and send from there (or to Dropbox, Google Drive etc.). So it is always initiated directly by the user as an optional, extra step after purchase, not with the purchase itself. I don’t see how that could be construed as having ‘commercial purposes’ since there is no exchange of money involved.

    I don’t know how that differs from what Baen has been doing, as I’ve never used Baen. Did they have an account setting to automatically send each purchase to your kindle account? I could see where that might make Baen into an ‘alternative storefront’ that would run afoul of the TOS.

    Or maybe it is just that Baen has gotten new legal advice rather than some takedown notice from Amazon.

  4. Amazon started sending out warnings to publishers earlier this month. Andy Hunt from The Pragmatic Bookshelf may be able to provide more details — or can at the very least confirm this isn’t just affecting Baen.

    Netgalley doesn’t sell books, as far as I know, so I doubt their usage falls afoul of Amazon’s terms. Smashwords may have been warned but haven’t announced anything yet. It would appear Baen was given time to bring their site into compliance, so Smashwords may have as well. Or maybe Amazon just doesn’t care much since Smashwords only directly distributes a small number of titles to Amazon.

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Amazon Now Blocking Publishers (but Not Retailers) From Emailing eBooks to Your Kindle? | Ink, Bits, & Pixels
  2. Baen Books Reveals Amazon's Byzantine Policies on Kindle Email Delivery | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

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