With over a million titles in its collection, Kindle Unlimited is by far the most popular eBook subscription service. But it’s not included with Amazon Prime and costs $10 a month — a hefty fee for a service that relies mostly on self-published authors.
An uncomfortable situation that polarizes customers and critics. And that’s understandable. Kindle Unlimited is a bargain, but if it doesn’t suit your interests or reading habits, it’s not worth your money.
What is Amazon Kindle Unlimited?
Similar to Audible, Kindle Unlimited is an add-on service for Amazon customers. It is not Included with Prime and costs $10 a month, although Amazon occasionally offers a one-year Kindle Unlimited membership at a discounted price. (You don’t need Prime to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.)
The Kindle Unlimited service does what you expect – it unlocks millions of eBooks for free. You can download these books and read them on any device, including your Kindle, smartphone, Fire tablet, iPad, or computer. But you don’t own the books you read through Kindle Unlimited, and the service only lets you download 20 titles at a time.
While Kindle Unlimited is one of the most popular eBook rental services, it’s not the only option. Services like Scribd compete directly with the Kindle Unlimited business model, and Libby lets you borrow digital books for free from your local library.
Kindle Unlimited mainly offers self-published books
Authors who submit their books to Kindle Unlimited are not paid for each download. Instead, they get paid for each page that subscribers can read. And the prices are pretty low — less than half a cent per page, according to Amazon’s FAQ.
It’s a questionable payout system that big authors and publishers don’t want to put up with. So the Kindle Unlimited catalog is chock-full of self-published romance, sci-fi, and thriller novels. There is also a huge selection of magazines including persons and popular scienceplus a decent number of history books.
And while Kindle Unlimited lacks many contemporary classics, it is does feature a slew of books by long-dead authors such as Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, and Zora Neale Hurston. These titles are published through AmazonClassics and, in my experience, rarely contain typos or other issues.
But the AmazonClassics series tends to focus on books in the public domain, which means they’re already available to download for free on sites like Project Gutenberg (and already come with your Prime account). They also lack the supplemental materials and annotations typically included in Penguin Random House or HarperCollins reprints.
Classic books that are still under copyright are rarely offered by Kindle Unlimited. And if you want to read contemporary bestsellers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanyou are better off visiting your library or buying the book direct.
You already get some free books with Prime
If you’re already a Prime member, you may not need Kindle Unlimited. Your Prime account already has a service called Prime Reading. This grants free access to over a thousand eBooks, including the AmazonClassics I mentioned earlier and the full Harry Potter Series.
In general, the Prime Reading selection is much stronger than Kindle Unlimited. Each book offered through this service is handpicked by a panel of editors – there’s less fuzz, less pulp and less choice.
But Kindle Unlimited gets you a lot more books than Prime Reading. It’s also a haven for self-published novels and contains a slew of popular magazines, which can’t be said for Prime Reading.
And at $10 a month, Kindle Unlimited costs a lot less than a Prime membership (which currently costs $13 a month or $140 a year). On the other hand, Prime offers a lot of extra perks, so maybe this is a moot point.
The 6 best tablets of 2022
Only avid readers get their money’s worth
A Kindle Unlimited subscription unlocks millions of books for just $10 a month. And that theoretically should make Kindle Unlimited a great deal. But it really depends on your reading habits.
Again, most of the books on Kindle Unlimited are self-published. And if you bought these books right away, many of them would only cost a dollar or two. So the average Kindle Unlimited user needs to read at least four or five books each month to get their money’s worth.
If you’re a voracious reader, you’ll have no problem reading five books a month with Kindle Unlimited. Especially if you are interested in self-published romance, thriller, sci-fi and so on.
But if you only read a few books a month, you’ll have trouble reaching that goal. They may be better off buying books piece by piece. And hey, buying books isn’t such a bad thing – you actually get to keep them.
Now, if you love reading magazines, Kindle Unlimited pays off very quickly. The Kindle Unlimited service includes persons, food and wine, Popular mechanicsand a boatload of other popular magazines, which typically cost $6 to $10 without a subscription.
Our suggestion: try a library app first
Like a library, Kindle Unlimited lets you borrow a wide range of books for free. But a Kindle Unlimited subscription costs money, and the millions of books Amazon offers are mostly independent, self-published titles.
Because of this, I recommend trying a library app before using Kindle Unlimited. Most public libraries work with Libby to provide eBooks, audiobooks, and movies for free. You can download this content to your Kindle (or any other device) via the glorious power of the internet. All you need is a library card.
The only downside to your local library is that they can’t loan a digital book to more than one or two people at a time. This limitation does not exist with Kindle Unlimited, and of course there is no due date for returning a book from Amazon’s service.
Once you’ve checked out a few eBooks from your library, you’ll know if Kindle Unlimited is worth trying out. Remember, new subscribers get their first month free — you might want to try comparing Kindle Unlimited to your library’s digital services to see which you like best.
I should also reiterate that Amazon Prime customers get some books for free. And if you’re not satisfied with Kindle Unlimited’s selection, competitors like Scribd might stimulate your imagination.
The best e-readers of 2022
This article was previously published on Source link