Eagle-eyed folks at tech site GigaOm discovered a test page at Amazon this week that introduced Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that offers unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks for $9.99/month.
The test page for Kindle Unlimited was taken down by Amazon soon after its discovery, but Amazon officially launched the service this morning at Kindle Unlimited. If you check out the page you can see which titles are included in Amazon’s ebook and audiobook subscription service.
Like Netflix for videos, Kindle Unlimited gives you access to an unlimited number of books each month for a single subscription price. For $9.99/month you can read as many ebooks and audiobooks as you like without having to buy each one separately.
According to Amazon, over 600,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks are included in Kindle Unlimited. The page features sample titles including popular series Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings. GigaOm points out that five big publishers aren’t included in the deal: Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Hatchette, though over 8000 audiobooks are included.
As with purchased Kindle ebooks, Kindle Unlimited books are available on any device. You can read Kindle Unlimited books on Kindle ereaders and Fire tablets, plus you can read them using Kindle apps on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows phones, BlackBerry phones, and Mac and PC computers.
This video from Amazon gives more details about the Kindle Unlimited service:
Testing Kindle Unlimited
You can sign up for a thirty-day free trial to see if you enjoy using this subscription service and whether enough books of interest to you are included.
You can also check which books are included by either going to the Kindle Unlimited Books page.
When you search for a book, you can see whether it is included in the Kindle Unlimited service:
If you’re about to purchase a Kindle book for more than $9.99, you may want to sign up for the service for a month to read the book and perhaps get the audiobook companion for free! Just be sure to finish reading the book within the month.
A Long Time Coming
News of Kindle Unlimited shouldn’t come as a total shock. Nearly three years ago rumors of an unlimited ebook subscription service from Amazon began to emerge. A Wonder of Tech poll in September of 2011 showed 44% of respondents were interested in a Kindle ebook subscription:
Did the results of that poll in 2011 predict the results of today’s poll? Time will tell…
Alternatives to Kindle Unlimited
With Kindle Unlimited, Amazon faces competition from other sites and itself. Ebook subscription services already exist from sites such as Scribd, which offers unlimited reading of over 400,000 ebooks and 40 million other written works for $8.99/month. See, Scribd: The Netflix of eBooks?
Amazon offers Kindle Owners Lending Library which lets Kindle owners who are members of Prime borrow a book a month for free. According to Amazon, over 500,000 Kindle titles are available in this program. See, Kindle Owners Lending Library – Free Kindle Books! for more information.
But neither Kindle Owners Lending Library nor other ebook subscription services include both ebooks and audiobooks. Other ebook libraries are also smaller than the 600,000 titles which are included in Kindle Unlimited.
The question then becomes which service has the ebooks (and audiobooks) you’re most interested in reading?
What do you think of Kindle Unlimited? Would you be interested in joining this subscription service from Amazon? Vote in The Wonder of Tech poll and let us know what you think:
Are you excited about Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited? Will you sign up for the 30-day free trial? Do you like that audiobooks are included too? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!