Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Service is now live. Pay $9.99 per month and you can read any of the more than 600 thousand eBooks or listen to 2 thousand Audible audiobooks.
Want to read a book at home but listen while you’re commuting to work? Amazon’s Whispersync will keep track of your progress in a Kindle eBook and sync it with an Audible audiobook, letting you switch between reading and listening.
We saw evidence of Kindle Unlimited a few days ago, but the service is now live for customers in the United States. You can take it for a test drive before spending any cash, thanks to a 30-day free trial period.
Amazon isn’t the first company to offer a Netflix-for-books service. Oyster and Scribd have been at it for a while. But Amazon has a large library, an enormous existing user base, and (sometimes rocky) relationship with publishers. Those companies are now competing directly with Amazon, but they’ve both released statements suggesting that this helps popularize their business model and could be good news for everyone.
Popular titles included in the Kindle Unlimited content library includes the Lord of the Rings triology, the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, Water for Elephants, the Princess Bride, and more.
Odds are folks who were already spending more than $10 per month on books will find plenty of content to read. Odds are if you aren’t already an avid reader, there’s not a lot of reason to spend $120 a year on books you probably still won’t read.
If the content available through Kindle Unlimited looks familiar, you may already be an Amazon Prime subscriber own a Kindle eReader or Kindle Fire tablet: the eBooks library seems to be pretty much the same as what you can get from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. That service lets Kindle owners who pay $99 per year for an Amazon Prime membership read up to one book a month for no extra fee.
Kindle Unlimited is a separate service that includes audiobooks and lets you read as much or as little as you’d like. And unlike the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Kindle Unlimited works with Amazon’ Kindle reading apps for iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, OS X, and Windows Phone. You don’t need to own a Kindle to use the service.
When you sign up for Kindle Unlimited you also get a 3-month free membership to Audible.com which lets you access 150 thousand audiobooks.
Of course the service doesn’t include other Prime perks such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, Amazon Prime Music, or free 2-day shipping on millions of items.
So they are competing against their own Audible.com? I don’t get it. Selection is my primary concern, so Public Library is not a very tempting option.
For ebooks selection, the Public Library is far superior to Kindle Unlimited — at least for my public library (major metropolitan city) and my tastes in SciFi/Fantasy books. For the public library, since they may only have two copies of an ebook in circulation with a max of 14 days checkout, it can be awhile before you get the book. For Kindle Unlimited, it looks to me like they took all the self-published books and the books that hardly anybody wants to read and offered them for $10/month. Try searching for your favorite author on Kindle Unlimited. Now try searching on your public library ebook system. I have read a lot of great ebooks through the public library that are not on Kindle Unlimited.
They don’t even have most of the self-published authors in the program. I’m an indie author and only one of my works, a short story, is in that system. The reason is that it would require me to be exclusive to Amazon for any book of mine to be in Kindle Unlimited, and that’s not happening because I currently make more on book sales at B&N.
I demand Amazon to increase the Prime membership by $10 so this can be included for “free” so I can pay for another thing I don’t use.
$10 a year versus what they are asking $10/month, dream on!
It’s just a joke about the Prime membership fee increase plus the services that are part of Prime being not used by some people. For example, I pay $99 now for Prime but I don’t stream video/audio, use the Kindle lending program, etc.
This is yet another attempt by Amazon to flex its ebook/audiobook
It’s a shame that in an era where consumers have enjoyed years
of DRM-free mp3 files, ebooks/audiobooks remain a proprietary,
encrypted format. This latest Amazon move will further ensure
consumers have little choice, only being able to play Amazon
(and other vendors’ content, e.g., Google, Apple) that consumers
have paid hard-earned money for, on devices and software
of these vendors’ choice.
Should these vendors decide to exit the market (e.g., Barnes
and Noble exiting the audiobook market, reminiscent of Yahoo,
Microsoft, and others exiting the DRM-ed music business,
and shutting down their activation servers), consumers are
in danger of being left high and dry.
Amazon gives publishers the choice — DRM or DRM-free. I have a book up on the Kindle store, and it’s DRM free.
I’d like to see someone write about this in the context of the cost of a public library system.
Don’t try to apply logic.
It won’t get you past the next quarter.
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