Magazines stacked accordian style on a desk

Amazon to End Kindle Publishing for Periodicals in 2023

Subscribers will no longer be able to get print or digital magazine subscriptions or buy single issues through the site

Amazon is winding down its Kindle Publishing for Periodicals program — print and digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions and single-issue sales on Kindle Newsstand — next year, reports Publishers Weekly. Amazon currently offers print magazine subscriptions to customers in the U.S., and digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions and single-issue sales in the U.S. in three other markets. Amazon is also ending its print textbook rental program during the sprint semester. Digital textbook rentals will still be available.

Amazon will notify subscribers about changes to the Kindle Publishing for Periodicals changes in March, and readers will have until September to subscribe to or cancel their subscriptions elsewhere, says Locus Magazine. For those willing to go solely digital, subscribers can try Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited where some of the periodicals will still be available.

Screenshot of Magazine Subscriptions in Kindle Unlimited as of 12-26-22
Source: Amazon

Email to publishers

Amazon sent an email to publishers about the discontinuation of the Kindle Publishing for Periodicals program, which was shared by GoodEReader:

“As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change. Following an assessment of our magazine and newspaper subscription offerings via Newsstand, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the individual subscription programs for both print and Kindle, which also includes Kindle single issues. We don’t take these decisions lightly. We are winding down this program in a phased manner and will work with you throughout the wind down process to help ensure the best experience possible for our mutual customers.”

According to GoodEReader, some publishers will be able to offer their subscriptions in Kindle Unlimited Magazines, which is available through a Kindle Unlimited subscription ($9.99 a month after a free 30-day trial). Magazines invited to participate do not need to be exclusive to Kindle Unlimited, and publishers will be paid according to a formula related to active subscribers, says GoodEReader. Publishers who sign up will receive a contract and an estimate of annual income they could earn through the partnership.

Part of bigger changes at Amazon

In November, CEO Andy Jassy wrote a blog about staff eliminations and changes to the company’s business. He said the company would be eliminating “a number of positions” across their Devices and Books businesses. He said the exact number had not been determined yet, and team leaders would talk to their staff before details were determined or released publicly. These are part of a larger layoff. Amazon will lay off as many as 10,000 employees, or about 3% of Amazon’s total workforce. They are also pausing hiring in their corporate workforce. Layoffs will continue into 2023.

Insider Take

As a public, membership-based company, Amazon has to evaluate each of its business divisions to see what’s working and what isn’t, and which areas require the most resources and are least profitable. While Amazon didn’t share numbers, it is surprising that Amazon would discontinue their Kindle Publishing for Periodicals program. This will not only reduce revenue for Amazon, but it could significantly reduce revenue for magazine and newspaper publishers who rely on that income and for those who are not invited to be a part of Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited. It seems like everyone loses here – Amazon, Amazon employees who are displaced, magazine and newspaper publishers, and readers.

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