Amazon is shutting down its Kindle Worlds fan fiction site which has been running for just over five years since May 2013.
New submissions to Kindle Worlds have been stopped and all Kindle Worlds stories at Amazon.com will be removed by July 16, with the website closing down completely on August 29.
KW stories have already been taken off Kindle Unlimited and the final royalties paid out to authors will include what Amazon calls ‘a proactive final payment for all remaining Kindle Unlimited borrows, including borrows that have not yet met the qualified borrow threshold’. KW stories were only added to KU recently.
Amazon is asking KW participants to check and validate their banking details and contact information by July 31 to make sure everything is in order for a final royalty payment.
When stories are removed from Kindle Worlds, Amazon says it will ‘revert the rights granted to us by you in your Kindle Worlds Publishing Agreement’. But it adds that certain rights have been granted to the applicable World Licensor and you may not be able to republish your work, use elements from the world, or otherwise exploit the rights you granted unless you obtain the World Licensor’s permission.
That is a particularly interesting point as Kindle Worlds had a strange and somewhat confusing approach to copyright, which is possibly one of the reasons that may have led to its closure.
Basically, authors of KW stories handed over to Amazon ‘the exclusive, irrevocable license for the full term of copyright protection’. Amazon also set the prices for the stories and paid 35% net royalties on ebooks of over 10,000 words and 20% for ebooks with less than 10,000 words. World licensors were also paid undisclosed royalties.
The T&C’s stipulated No Reversion of rights to the authors but Amazon appears to have rethought this matter as they are reverting the rights after closure.
The aim of Kindle Worlds was to be a platform where writers wrote and published stories based on licensed Worlds, which originally included Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries.
When it was set up, Amazon said, ‘Our goal with Kindle Worlds is to create a home for authors to build on the Worlds we license, and give readers more stories from the Worlds they enjoy.’
The closure follows Amazon shutting down its ‘reader-powered’ publishing scheme Kindle Scout in April this year after running for three and a half years.
If you have any questions about the closure of Kindle Worlds you should email: firstname.lastname@example.org.