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Kindle Unlimited: Should you or shouldn’t you? I wish there was an easy answer to give you, but there isn’t.
In some ways, Kindle Unlimited is great. But in other ways, not so much.
What is Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited is like a digital library run by Amazon. You pay them a monthly fee (learn more about the cost later) and have access to the library for the month.
The library contains over a million books to choose from with no limits on how many people can be reading each book at one time.
You can read as many books as you want during the month, but you can only have 10 books “checked out” at the same time.
Some books are also available with free audio narration.
Who Should Buy Kindle Unlimited (aka the Pros)
- People who are lazy.
Kindle Unlimited is nice because you don’t have to constantly search out more books. Turn on your kindle and read. Plus it suggests more kindle unlimited books you can read later. This was honestly one of the nicest things about Kindle Unlimited for me.
- People who read a variety of genres and authors.
One of the cons of Kindle Unlimited is that current fiction from the major publishers is severely lacking (or non-existent). But if you like to read more than just the current bestsellers and award-winners, then you’ll be fine on Kindle Unlimited.
- People who like current magazines.
A Kindle Unlimited subscription includes access to a selection of magazines every month. You’re only given the current monthly edition without back issues.
- People who want to support independent authors.
This one’s a bit of a catch-22 because you also have to support the behemoth that is Amazon. BUT, a lot of self-published authors are available on Kindle Unlimited. Most of those books wouldn’t be published without Amazon and a lot of them are amazing!
- People who read A LOT.
There’s no limit to how many books you can read in a month. Want to read 10? Sure. 30? Okay. 874? You can certainly try.
*Note: you can only have 10 books “checked out” at a time. But as soon as you return one, you can take another one.
- People who like to experiment.
The other advantage to it being unlimited is that if you start something and don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it. Just return it to Amazon and choose something else.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kindle Unlimited (aka the Cons)
- People who only like to read new releases, current bestsellers, and current award winners.
These books can take a lot of time to arrive on Kindle Unlimited. In fact, many of them will never be available on Kindle Unlimited.
- People who don’t read very much.
The bottom line is that a lot of the books on kindle unlimited are available for $4.99 or less. If you’re only reading a couple of books a month, it’s probably not worth it.
- People with a Prime Subscription might not benefit from a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
A Prime subscription comes with Prime Reading (more below). It also comes with one free “Amazon First Reads” book every month. For a lot of people, that’s going to be more than enough!
Is Kindle Unlimited Worth it (for Readers)?
That depends on the reader.
The best way to find out if the selection on Kindle Unlimited is right for you? Sign up. Amazon switches its kindle offers a couple of times a year. One of these is usually always available: a free 30-day trial OR 3-months for $0.99.
Keep track of the books you read (and their actual cost) during your trial period (30 or 90 days). At the end, add up the price. Would reading those books have cost you more than a subscription? Maybe it’s worth it.
You should also consider if you were satisfied with the books and the process of using Unlimited. How often did you want something that wasn’t available? How often did you spend ages searching for something to read?
What is the Kindle Unlimited Book Selection Like?
There are over one million titles available on Kindle Unlimited.
While that might sound like a lot, it’s only a small portion of the titles available on Amazon.
The selection available on Kindle Unlimited is going to be highly subjective. Some readers will think it’s more than enough to keep them reading for the rest of their lives. Other readers will be highly disappointed in the titles available.
Kindle Unlimited really doesn’t have many (or any) new releases, current bestsellers, and current award-winners. It also has very few books from the major publishing houses.
Instead, Kindle Unlimited has a lot of books written by independent authors, and a lot of classics (public domain and not).
Best Kindle Unlimited Books
Another one of those “this depends on the reader” situations. There are a lot of awesome books available on Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a selection of 11 awesome books available on Kindle Unlimited (🎧 means audio narration is available for free):
- THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood (Kindle price: $9.99)
- 🎧 THE DRESSMAKER’S GIFT by Fiona Valpy (Kindle price $4.99)
- 🎧 WHEN WE BELIEVED IN MERMAIDS by Barbara O’Neal (Kindle price $3.99)
- THE VINE WITCH by Luanne G. Smith (Kindle price $4.99)
- THE PRICE OF TIME by Tim Tigner (Kindle price $6.99)
- HARRY POTTER books 1-7 by J.K. Rowling (Kindle price $8.99 each)
- 🎧THE DARK BONES by Loreth Anne White (Kindle price $4.99)
- 🎧I AM WATCHING YOU by Teresa Driscoll (Kindle price $5.99)
- THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Kindle price $6.19)
- TO PIXAR AND BEYOND by Lawrence Levy (Kindle price $2.99)
- INSTANT POT COOKBOOK (Kindle price $3.99)
Is Kindle Unlimited Worth it (for Writers)?
In other words, if you self-publish should you make your books available on Kindle Unlimited.
I’m not the person to answer that. I have zero interest in self-publishing (at this point in my life, at least). So I’m going to direct you to three other sources:
- Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select vs. Going Wide: Which is Better for Self-Published Authors?
- READ THIS Before You Enroll in KDP Select!
- The Authors Who Love Amazon
Can I Give Kindle Unlimited as a Gift?
You can! Head over to Kindle Unlimited Gift Subscriptions and enter the recipients’ information. You’ve just made a happy reader!
Kindle Unlimited with Audible Narration
There are an estimated 20,000 books on Kindle Unlimited that come with free narration.
Look for the headphones next to the Kindle Unlimited.
There are also about 500 public domain titles in Kindle Unlimited – all of which have free narration!
Magazines Included with Kindle Unlimited
If you like magazines, you can get current issues of several magazines with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
How Much Does Kindle Unlimited Cost?
The big question. What’s the price?
The basic cost is $9.99 a month. (Amazon sometimes offers discounts if you pre-purchase several months.)
$9.99 a month is a reasonable price for what you’re getting – if you use it.
Give the trial a go and find out if Kindle Unlimited is right for you!
Can You Keep Books on Kindle Unlimited?
No. Kindle Unlimited is like a library – you borrow books and return them.
BUT – (as long as you’re a paying subscriber) there’s no maximum length of time you can borrow the books for. And, you can have a maximum of 10 kindle unlimited books “checked out” at a time.
If you want to keep a copy of a book forever, Kindle Unlimited books are all available for purchase on Amazon.
Do I Need a Kindle Device?
Nope. You can use the Kindle App on almost any device!
What if I have Amazon Prime? (aka Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading)
Prime Reading is included as part of Amazon Prime. You get a lot of benefits for having Amazon Prime including Prime Reading, Free Fast Delivery, Amazon Originals on Prime Video, Prime Music (not Unlimited), and more!
As for Prime Reading, it’s a lot like Kindle Unlimited. Prime Reading is a small section (over 1,000 books and magazines) of the Kindle Unlimited library that’s available to Prime members.
If I select only Kindle Unlimited eligible books, I get these results:
If I select only Prime Reading eligible books, I get these results:
For example, from the list of 11 awesome kindle unlimited books above, these 3 are the ones also available on Prime Reading:
- THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood (kindle price: $9.99)
- HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by JK Rowling (kindle price $8.99)
*Note: the entire series is available on Kindle Unlimited but only the first book is available on Prime Reading
- THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (kindle price $6.19)
Your Results May Vary
Kindle Unlimited may be a great choice for you. Or, it may not. You’ll have to check it out and decide for yourself.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut one-size-fits-all answer here.
Sign up for Kindle Unlimited now and give it a try!
If you’re looking for a gift for a writer, check out these amazing Gifts for Writers next.
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