Amazon Kindle devices have grown in popularity over the years, and for good reason — the service offers access to a broad range of titles for a fraction of the cost of a physical copy. And another benefit (the best kind, actually) is that eBooks are one of the reasons why there are fewer dead trees.
When Kindle Unlimited launched in 2014, Amazon made sure that its digital subscription will evolve from a supplementary service for bookworms to one of the company’s most popular membership programs.
If you have tried Kindle Unlimited previously, you will be surprised to know about the many things that have since changed, particularly in the way Amazon treats its returning subscribers. For one thing, Amazon has come to terms with the fact that a lot of members pack up and leave, only to come back again after a few months, or weeks even.
It’s just how Kindle Unlimited works: you sign up for a membership for a month or two, read what you can, cancel, and then return when it feels like it’s your reading season again.
Below, we’ll discuss more on Kindle Unlimited, its pros and cons, and a smattering of other details so you can decide whether you will find it worthy of your time and money.
First Things First: What is Kindle Unlimited?
Also called KU, Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s subscription offering for ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. Users of this service gain access to more than a million books and a neat range of audiobooks. Each user can shelf up to 10 titles at once and return them at any time.
As for the requirements, you will need an Amazon account, for starters, and a United States address, or at least change your country to US in your account settings.
How Much Does KU Cost?
If you want a monthly subscription, it will cost you $9.99 per month. If you are dead serious about achieving your reading goals, on the other hand, that will be $199.90 for the entire year. But before you shell out some dough, Amazon offers a free 30-day trial so you can test it out, see if it’s for you.
If you are really committed for the long haul, you can also consider Amazon’s price promotions. They offer sweet deals for a three-month subscription and there may even be tailored offers for returning customers.
How Does Kindle Unlimited Work?
If you didn’t know already, Kindle Unlimited works on any device, not just on a Kindle, as long as you have an Amazon account. The 10 books you borrow you can keep as long as you like (as long as your subscription is active).
You can easily find titles available for borrowing on your Kindle Unlimited dashboard, which is tailored according to your browsing behavior. Through Amazon, you can access this dashboard by clicking on the Shop by Category icon — it’s the one with three horizontal lines in the upper left corner. Then choose Kindle E-readers & Books then Kindle Unlimited.
If you want to check out the entire Kindle Unlimited catalog, you may do so under the Browse the Catalog option on the right portion of your dashboard.
What Kinds of Books are Available on Kindle Unlimited?
If we’re going to be really honest here, the selection of books on Kindle Unlimited isn’t actually “unlimited” per se. While yes, there are a lot of books to choose from, it’s possible that the titles you like may not be available on the platform.
Brace yourself for the massive range of self-published books, though. In fact, most books on KU are from self-published authors and for a reason — every author who enrolls in KDP select automatically has their works added to it. This feature is quite admirable and beneficial for readers always on the lookout for newbies on the scene, authors who haven’t infiltrated the mainstream yet. For the author’s part, this means more exposure.
If you’re the kind of reader keen on contemporary bestsellers, however, you will find KU too limited in terms of selections. The platform harnesses the power of indie authors and not so much on the mainstream side. Still, you may spot some recent-ish bestsellers here and there, like the Harry Potter series and Hunger Games books. This is not a lot, though, compared to the number of self-published books on Kindle Unlimited.
Is Kindl Unlimited Worth It?
So, is it really worth spending $10 a month or $120 yearly on Kindle Unlimited, or is your money better off somewhere else?
If we base it on the kinds of books available, we need to first identify the type of reader you are.
If your choices mostly belong to mainstream titles, something the Big 5 would publish, then you are probably going to hate Kindle Unlimited. If you like indie genres and from self-published folks, meanwhile, you will love it for sure.
Another deciding factor to consider is the number of books you can read in a month. Some KU critics have pointed out that you will have to make sure to finish at least two books in a month for your subscription to be worth the money, considering a lot of self-published books on Amazon cost $5 or less. And with ten bucks, that’s already one mainstream book in the Kindle store. That’s something to think about.
If you are not a heavy reader at all, then it won’t make sense to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited is for people who love to read — and in digital format. There are still people who insist books are better and if you don’t own a Kindle or any device, there’s no benefit from it because the subscription does not include physical books.
For dedicated readers, the benefit is that new titles are being added regularly. If you’re lucky, Amazon may drop in something from one of the Big 5 publishing houses. But on regular days, you’re still getting a bang for your buck and support indie book writers in the process.
And if somewhere in the middle you feel like Kindle Unlimited doesn’t serve you well, you can easily cancel your subscription, hassle-free.
We recommend trying it out for a month. It’s free anyway and there’s very little risk. Explore Kindle Unlimited’s catalog to see if the selections encourage you to shell out some cash.