Diesel runs out of gas

Another indie ebook store is shutting down, with Diesel closing at the end of this month. If you have ebooks on the store then you need to download them from the Diesel site by March 31 as they won’t be available on April 1.

Agency pricing has been the bane of independent ebook retailers and that seems to be the major cause behind the Diesel shutdown.

Both Diesel and Booksonboard (another ebook seller which closed a year ago) are suing Apple over alleged price-fixing which they claim destroyed their strategies of competing by lowering ebook prices to boost their business.

The Diesel mission was for an open ebook environment with customers able to transfer ebooks between multiple devices. The firm had a lot of good ideas, including a rewards scheme which offered various levels of credits for purchases, a bundle facility where readers could “shrink-wrap” their own bundle concept of up to six ebook titles, and a link-up with Smashwords for self-published authors to make their books available through the Diesel website.

The operation launched around 10 years ago in 2004 and claimed to be the biggest independent ebook store in the world (as did Booksonboard), with more than three million ebooks available from over a thousand publishers.

We might yet see Diesel rise from the ashes in some form or other as their closure notice says they are exploring options.