So long, Shelfie

ShelfieAnother publishing startup bites the dust. Shelfie, the app that allowed you to upload pictures of your bookshelf and get discounted or even free ebook and audiobook versions of the books you own in print, has closed down.

Formerly known as BitLit, the company was one of the most promising publishing startups of recent years, with support from over 2,000 publishers. It ceased trading on 31 January, meaning users simply lost access to any DRM-protected books they’d purchased (and others if they hadn’t got round to downloading them within the sub-24-hour notice period).

I’m sad about this one partly because I’ve now lost several ebooks, but mainly because it was such a great idea: there’s also Kindle MatchBook of course, which allows you to buy the Kindle version of a book you’ve bought in print at a discounted rate, but that’s limited to Amazon’s ecosystem, and we need more innovation in the industry outside of that. 

Kobo has ridden to the rescue, offering to support downloads until the end of February (and scoop up the userbase along the way, of course), but it’s an unpleasant reminder for readers that digital ‘purchases’ depend on platform permanence.