Last week's news about the end of Amazon's gift card pilot has turned up a couple similar services in France and Russia. Both are coincidentally called BookinCard, although only one is still in operation.
BookinCard.com (France) and BookinCard.ru (all hail Putin) are two separate startups that share a similar name and business model. They supply ebook gift cards to retailers which can be redeemed for ebooks online.
The French operation launched several years ago and has apparently shut down, and according to my sources the Russian firm launched in 2014 and is still going strong.
The latter distributes cards to Moscow bookstores. The cards can be used by consumers to get DRM-free Epub ebooks which can be downloaded by either scanning a QR code on the card or by entering a code on the BookinCard.ru website.
All in all, when it comes to ebook gift cards there are more failed programs and fizzled experiments than there are success stories, so it wa no surprise to see that only one of the two BookinCard services was still operating.
One would think that ebook gift cards would make a good adition to the gift card racks carried by most retailers, but so far only one program has had huge success. That would be Enthrill, a Canadian startup which distributes to 3,500 stores.