Should Book Lovers Around the World Get Kindle Unlimited?

Amazon’s e-book reading program lets Kindle readers browse over a million titles for only $9.99/month, but is the service right for you?
November 19, 2017
8 mins read

Amazon introduced its Kindle Unlimited program in July 2014, beginning with over six hundred thousand books available to read through the service. Since the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a little over three years ago, that number has risen to more than a million books available through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service for only $9.99/month. With unlimited reading, no due dates on the books borrowed and audiobooks available to borrow as well, Kindle Unlimited, depending on the reader, can be a pretty great investment.

Kindle Unlimited is like Amazon’s online, e-book version of a public library, with subscribers who are able to borrow e-books of all types, for as long as they want, up to ten books borrowed at a time. Books come in all genres and types, with audiobooks and magazines offered through Kindle Unlimited as well.

It should be noted that Kindle Unlimited is not the same thing as Prime Reading. Prime Reading is a bit like a diluted version of Kindle Unlimited, in that if someone has a Prime membership, they can still read books for free but the selection to choose from is much smaller, at just over a thousand options. Readers, however, can still borrow up to ten books at a time through Prime Reading, and magazines and audiobooks are part of the selection of things to borrow. Readers can try out Prime Reading, and if they like it and use it quite a bit, upgrade to the larger service in Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited comes with a thirty-day free trial and after that, only costs $9.99/month. There isn’t a student discount for Kindle Unlimited, but depending on how often you find yourself buying books to read at the bookstore, it can help lessen the costs of buying actual books to read in your free time, especially if those books are from popular publishers or are really popular in general.

While traditional publishers, such as HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Shuster, MacMillan and Penguin aren’t really interested in Kindle Unlimited, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good books available through the service. There are a lot of really great, lesser-known authors who have awesome books under Kindle Unlimited, and with over 1.7 million books available to borrow and read, subscribers are sure to find a work they find enjoyable. Plus, with a little over thirty thousand of the 1.7 million books through Kindle Unlimited coming with Audible narration, there are also options available for those who appreciate audiobooks.

If books aren’t really your forte, Kindle Unlimited also offers a wide array of magazines. Every month, Amazon chooses a selection of magazines that can be read through the program and, unlike the book selection, they often suggest more popular, well-known publications. For this month, the selection includes magazines such as Marie Claire, Wired, Rolling Stone and Glamour, to name a few.

Ditch your magazine subscription and get Kindle Unlimited for a wide selection of Books and Magazines (Image via Amazon UK)

In addition to using it to satiate your personal literary pangs, Kindle Unlimited also offers the option to give a subscription of the program as a gift to someone else for six, twelve or twenty-four months, should you want to share the cheer of good writing for the holidays. The service also lets users read a Kindle Unlimited book on any device through Amazon’s Kindle App and, as with any e-book purchased through Amazon, highlights, notes and bookmarks can be made and saved in an e-book.

While Kindle Unlimited offers only a small selection of popular books, much of the library is fantastic. Since lesser-known e-books usually cost only around $4.99, if you read voraciously, the investment more than works out in the end. So, even if you only borrow and read three books a month, you still get your money’s worth; and, if you borrow the limit of ten books at a time, your money is definitely being spent well.

Honestly, Kindle Unlimited is not for everyone; if it was, everyone would be using it. If you’re into the newest releases, don’t really read self-published or unknown books or aren’t reading in the little free time college students have, then Kindle Unlimited probably isn’t for you. But if you’re someone who reads a lot during your free time or spends extra money on buying books, Kindle Unlimited is definitely something to give a chance. As a subscriber of the service, I’ve read dozens of different, interesting books that I’d probably never have read without it.

Personally, I tend to read primarily fantasy, romance and young adult novels, and if those genres appeal to you, I’d definitely recommend trying out Kindle Unlimited, as there are tons of really great books in those areas. There is also such a wide selection of books in these genres that there is very little chance of not finding a book you’d want to read.

I’ve definitely found some of my now-favorite authors through Kindle Unlimited and have read some great books, but you definitely need to keep an open mind. Not judging a book by its cover is certainly hard in any instance, but especially when it comes to Kindle Unlimited, as very few of the books are well known. But it’s completely worth it when you find a good book, and it’s even better when you find a series that’s available in its in entirety.

If you find yourself spending too much money on buying books from the bookstore or even buying popular e-books through Amazon, take advantage of Kindle Unlimited’s thirty-day free trial and see if there are enough books that you enjoy and are available through it. With all the genres, books, magazines and audiobooks it offers, you’re sure to find something good to feed your literary appetite.

Lizzy Spangler, University of North Texas

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Lizzy Spangler

University of North Texas
Digital and Print Journalism

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