Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited in the summer of 2014, in the United States. The service allowed anyone to enjoy unlimited ebooks for $9.99/month, from close to 700,000 titles in English. This number has now grown to over 1 million books, which is almost third of the total Amazon’s ebook catalog of over 3 million titles. Now the service is also available on Amazon UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and India.
The Kindle Unlimited books can be accessed via Kindle and Fire devices, as well as viewed via the free Kindle reading app installed on a smartphone or tablet (Android or iOS).
Kindle Unlimited Titles
The choice of titles is the key with any ebook subscription service. Kindle Unlimited boasts a vast and varied catalogue of novels, books for young people and practical guides. However, we were searched for each of the latest 10 bestsellers listed on Amazon, we didn’t find any of them in this catalogue…
To be able to include “the latest and greatest” books into the Kindle Unlimited, Amazon would have to sign a contract with large publishing houses. If Amazon manages to negotiate the ability to share the titles of the big publishers to include the books of such authors as Stephen King, Dan Brown or Janet Evanovich.
As of now, the world’s largest publishing companies – Hachette, Holtzbrinck/Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster (“Big Five”) are not in cooperation with the Kindle Unlimited.
You will find some hugely popular titles including the Hunger Games, Harry Potter books, Game of Thrones, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple in the KU catalogue. If you are an Amazon Prime Kindle Lending Library user, you may know many of the titles as Kindle Unlimited basically extends the access to the books that you can borrow via Prime.
10 Books at a Time
With the Kindle Unlimited, customers can download as many books as they like during the month. But they can only hold 10 books at a time. The book you select become immediately available on all your devices, via the free Kindle reading application. To download a book, you need to be connected to the Internet. Note: even though the books are downloaded onto the device, they are only borrowed. If you unsubscribe from the service, the titles will disappear from your library.
There are other ebook subscription services that offer similar subscriptions. The largest ones are Scribd and Oyster, who also offer 1 million+ titles each, at a comparable monthly cost.
Is the Price Right?
Given the current price of books, Kindle Unlimited is advantageous for people who buy at least a couple of books per month. If you do subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited, as a bonus, Amazon will provide a free 3-month subscription to Audible.
Kindle Unlimited vs Amazon Prime Kindle Lending Library
Most of the Kindle Unlimited titles are available in the Kindle Owners Lending Library, which is included with Amazon Prime subscription. Amazon Prime customers can borrow free Kindle books from over 1 million titles in the catalogue – one book a month, with no due dates.
Just like the Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime also comes with a month free trial. When the trial period is over, Amazon Prime membership costs $99 a year and Kindle Unlimited comes to $120 a year.
There are two prerequisites for using the Kindle lending library: you need to own a Kindle reader or Amazon Fire device, and you need to be an Amazon Prime member. The e-books can only be borrowed directly from your Amazon device (Kindle or Fire). Your Kindle and your Prime membership need to be connected in the same account. With the Kindle Unlimited, the e-books can be read even without a Kindle device – all you need is the free reading app installed on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
If the book can be borrowed, the Prime symbol is displayed next to it. Choose your book for the month, click the “Borrow for Free” button next to the purchase price, and the E-book will be loaded directly onto your device. With the Kindle Unlimited, you are also borrowing ebooks with one click and returning them when you are done reading. The difference is that you can borrow up to 10 e-books at once, unlimited number of times.
Should you make any bookmarks or notes within the book, they will be stored in your Amazon account with both services. If you borrow the same book again in the future, you will be able to access your notes.
Which do you think is best for free ebooks – Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited? Or do you prefer another ebook subscription service? Please share.