It's only been a few short days since Amazon announced that Amazon Giveaways was ending, and now they've decided to shut down another promotion service. I have heard from multiple sources (thanks, Lindsay, Adam, and Nicole!) that the retailer sent out an email today informing authors that the Kindle Matchbook program is going to be shut down on 31 October.
Here's the email:
Starting October 31, we’re retiring the Kindle MatchBook program. If you have books enrolled in Kindle MatchBook, they’ll be unenrolled at that time.
Here are a couple things to know:
- Readers will still be able to buy books in their preferred format (eBook or paperback).
- We’ll issue payments from any remaining Kindle MatchBook sales on your regular payment schedule.
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team
Launched in 2013, Kindle Matchbook was a program where authors and publishers had the option of creating ebook+print bundles that combine a Kindle ebook with a print book sold by Amazon. The ebook could be given away for free, or sold for $1.99 or $0.99.
If you've never heard of this program, you're not alone. Aside from the stories about the publishing industry losing its shit when Amazon launched Kindle Matchbook, it has gotten almost no media attention.
Most authors have never heard of it, and the ones that do have books in the program report that there was little interest from readers. "I can see why they are retiring it. I've had all my books enrolled in Matchbook since the beginning, allowing people to get a free ebook copy of any paperback they buy," Shawn Inmon wrote on FB. "I think I've given away maybe 20 copies in all those years. It just doesn't seem to be something people are interested in."
Shawn's conclusion is born out by the fate of the ebook startup Shelfie. That company launched a competing bundling service around the same time as Kindle Matchbook launch, and it shut down in early 2017. Shelfie's tech was acquired by Kobo in April 2017, and then - nothing.
Clearly this is one of those ideas that is cooler in the abstract than in practice.