Amazon sent out an email on Tuesday, informing users that it was shutting down the service that converted blogs' RSS feeds into daily ebooks delivered to your Kindle.
Thank you for using our Blog service to publish your Blog on Kindle. We are writing to let you know that on August 19, 2019 we are discontinuing support for all Blogs on Kindle due to low usage. Your blog(s) THE DIGITAL READER BLOG will no longer be available for sale in the Kindle store and you will no longer be able to manage blogs through kindlepublishing.amazon.com. This change will not impact any related publications that you manage outside of Kindle. If you have any questions or believe you have received this communication in error, please reach out to us at [email protected].
Kindle Publishing for Blogs is a service that launched with the Kindle in 2007. It was designed to deliver blog content to the Kindle, and give owners another reason to use their device.
Amazon is now known for its market-dominating Kindle Store, but many forget that this was just one of Amazon's many attempts to distribute digital text. (I used to have a post on the various Amazon ebookstores that predate the Kindle Store, but I think my blog ate it.)
Most of the unsuccessful ebook projects (such as Kindle Worlds) were shut down, but at least one was abandoned in place, deprived of tech support and customer service and left to die alone in the dark.
I am referring to Kindle Publishing for Blogs. I've had my blog on that service since 2010, but never paid it much attention because revenues never amounted to much. Also, I tried the service one or twice but canceled because the content delivered to the Kindle just wasn't very appealing.
On the one hand I am surprised Amazon is shutting it down, but on the other hand I am not. When I last looked at the service in December, I found signs the admin pages had not been updated in years.
I actually spent a week trying to access my blog's listing via the admin pages, but I never succeeded because Chrome was not a supported browser. I was told I should use Firefox 2.2 or above. Firefox 2 was released in 2006, which should give you an idea of just how long it's been since anyone worked on the portal. (The lack of support for Chrome suggests that the portal had last been worked on in, say, 2012.)
Oh, and no one was answering the customer support emails, either; I had to bring the problems to the attention of Amazon PR.
Amazon did fix the access issues, though. I took that as a sign they were going to keep the service going, but it was pretty clear at that point that both Amazon and bloggers had forgotten that the service even existed.
The service was dead in December 2018, so for me the really interesting part of today's story is that Amazon took another 8 months to decide to kill the service after I reminded them it existed.