You can no longer give the gift of Kindle Unlimited

Each year for the last couple of years, my husband has given me a 12-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited as part of my Christmas gift. This year, however, it seems that particular gift will be missing from under the tree: On Saturday, I noticed that Amazon is no longer offering ANY pre-paid or gift subscriptions to the service.

In the past, you used to be able to pre-pay your Kindle Unlimited subscription in increments of 6, 12 and 24 months. Or, you could buy a gift subscription for someone by going to a special gift landing page. Now, that page shows a message stating that gifting is unavailable.

Is this a permanent change in the way Kindle Unlimited subscriptions are handled? The Amazon page says that they are “working on getting it back as soon as possible.”

The Purchase a Kindle Uimited Pre-Paid Subscription help page still indicates that you can buy pre-paid and gift subscriptions for terms of up to  24 months. The Manage or Cancel Your Kindle Unlimited Membership page still refers to pre-paid gift and bundles. There is just no longer a link to purchase those subscriptions. Now, the only option on the sign up page for Kindle Unlimited is to pay $9.99 per month for the service.

I was going to try to contact Amazon today to ask about the pre-paid plans and, as the picture below shows, found that there is no option for any kind of support for Kindle Unlimited, even under the digital services tab.

It seems odd the that there is no help available for gifting options for KU, especially during the holiday season.

Amazon has gone back and forth on the idea of gifting some of its services: There was a time when you could not gift Amazon Prime, and Amazon Music Unlimited still cannot be purchased as a gift.

I can also understand that Amazon might not want the hassle of customer service support for Kindle Unlimited during the busy holiday season. Amazon’s servers already tend to be swamped with people registering their new devices and buying content with their gift cards.

It may also be the case that the no refunds policy for gifts and pre-paid subscriptions may be a factor. While the service boasts over a million titles, most are by indie and Amazon’s own publishing imprint authors. People looking to read the latest bestsellers may prefer a different gift after sampling the service.

It will be interesting to see if the gift and pre-paid options return after the holidays. (I, for one, liked the convenience of the option.)

What do you think?

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Barnes and Noble offers print, e-book bundles

bnsyncE-book aficionados have long been asking for for e-books to be bundled with the sale of a paper copy. Barnes and Noble is fulfilling that wish–at least for the holiday season. With the new B & N Sync Up! promotion, customers can purchase a paperback at a B & N store then get the e-book for $4.99. There are over 70 books to choose from, including bestsellers such as Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander,  Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees and the Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Eligible titles will be marked with a “B & N Sync Up!” bookmark.

The program offers a  great value because the purchaser can either keep both copies or give one away as a gift. Details of how the program works are available here at Barnes and Noble.com.

This is a special offer for the holidays, but the web site does not list the begining and end dates for the promotion. It is live on B & N now.