Pronoun, a self-publishing service for authors, is shutting down after promising free ebook distribution for authors. The company, which raised millions in funding and ended up being sold to Macmillan announced the shutdown in an email to authors and on its website.
The decision follows a long and arguably crazy mission to distribute and sell ebooks for free. The company started out as Vook, a service for creating complex and illustration-rich ebooks and slowly pivoted to its free model. Interestingly, the primary and best Pronoun feature for authors was its “free automated conversion tool that made absolutely beautiful ebooks.”
“They were nicer-looking than most ebooks made by people,” wrote Nate Hoffelder in The Digital Reader.
As the Internet moves away from the user-generated content model it will be interesting to see what other “free” content startups hit the skids.